Top 5 Considerations when Creating a Parenting Plan
When you are going through a divorce with children, or a custody matter, you need to create a parenting plan. Parenting plans should fit your specific needs as a family, and should always put the children first. Some families want detailed parenting plans and others want something more “loose” and flexible. Here are some things to consider when drafting your parenting plan so that you can ensure that it is a good fit for you, and your children.
TOP 5 PARENTING PLAN CONSIDERATIONS
- The children’s best interests. What is in the best interest of your children? Is it equal parenting time with both parties? Should one party have primary physical custody? If so, what should the other parent’s parenting time look like? How long should the children be with each parent so that it is meaningful parenting time, but also beneficial to the children so that they are not away from the other parent for too long? These are all questions to consider and discuss with your co-parent, or your attorney, so that you work toward a parenting plan that will benefit your children.
- Be realistic. Just because something works for one family does not mean it will work for another family. Look at the whole picture and think about how you can accomplish what is in your children’s best interests, but also how your proposed parenting plan could realistically work. For example, if your work schedule does not allow you to bring the children to school in the morning, then it may be best to only have overnight parenting time on weekends and prior to school holidays. Alternatively, if you work the night shift, it may be best for you to pick up the children each day after school to avoid daycare costs.
- How flexible can you be? If you or your co-parent have work schedules that frequently change, it may be beneficial to build flexibility into a parenting plan. You can add language in the plan to exchange work schedules upon receipt and to plan out parenting time in increments that align with your ever-changing schedules. Again, this may not work in all families, but if it is a concern for you, you should make sure that your parenting plan addresses it in the clearest way possible.
- What is communication like with your co-parent? Some co-parents communicate well, and some do not. If you already have good communication with your co-parent, then kudos to you! However, if you do not, you may want to consider taking co-parenting classes, or limiting your communication to writing (even possibly using an app like Our Family Wizard or AppClose). It’s imperative that co-parents communicate openly and honestly about the children because that will not only benefit the children, but it will also allow both parties to be more reasonable and flexible with the parenting plan.
- Does the parenting plan have longevity? Children’s needs, and schedules, change as they get older. This means that a parenting plan drafted when your child is three years old will very likely look different than the parenting plan that would apply when that same child is sixteen years old. Therefore, if you have young children, you should consider what future changes may occur and try to provide for as many as possible in the parenting plan. This can decrease the likelihood of you returning to court subsequently to modify the plan.
If you have any questions pertaining to the parenting plan for your divorce or custody matter, contact us and let Wolf & Shore Law Group go to work for you and help make your family law matter easier, not harder. Ever Argue with a Woman? Click here, call us at 203.745.315, or email us at email@example.com.