On behalf of Musselwhite, Meinhart & Staples posted in blog on Thursday, January 18, 2018.
A parenting plan is an important document in the child custody process. This document outlines everything that you and your ex have agreed upon during the child custody negotiation process.
Having to come up with a parenting plan might seem like a daunting undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. You should think of this plan as your road map for how all custody matters will be handled in the future.
What is the focus of the parenting plan?
Your children have to be the focus of the parenting plan. Everything in the document needs to be based on what is in the child’s best interests and not what is best or convenient for the parents. Keeping this in mind might make it easier to come to agreements since you and your ex can think about the child instead of yourself or the other person.
What should we include in the parenting plan?
The parenting plan should include a schedule for who is going to spend time with the child. It also needs to spell out who is going to be responsible for making decisions for the children. This might be both parents or one parent. You can also cover how disputes will be handled and what points aren’t up for negotiation. Don’t forget to plan for transportation, holidays, relocation and social media usage. You can even include a plan for how extracurricular activities will be handled and paid for. Typically, the more details you include in the parenting plan, the better it can help you out later.
What happens if we need to change something?
You have the option of a child custody modification down the road if you see that something needs to be changed. It is a good idea to expect that you will need a modification at some point since it is unrealistic to think that a plan that worked for a toddler will work for a teenager. Child custody modifications can be handled through mediation, just like the initial child custody case might have been handled.
What happens if we can’t agree on things?
If you and your ex just can’t agree on the parenting plan, you will have to go through a trial and have the court issue a ruling. This isn’t often something that parents want to do since it takes control away from them and places it in a stranger’s hands. Ultimately, you and your ex have to decide if the matters you are at odds about are worth having the court take control over the case.