Although you are ending your marriage with your spouse, you will still continually have to associate with your soon-to-be ex on the basis of parenting. When you have children together, you must cast aside your disagreements to co-parent agreeably and allow your children to thrive in their new reality.
Developing a parenting plan helps you outline a custody and visitation schedule and explain your arrangements to the court. The court may then approve or modify your proposed plan based on the best interest of your children.
What terms should the plan include?
The parenting plan needs to include which of you will take charge of each parenting responsibility, such as medical decisions, extracurriculars and school-related activities. The plan should describe how often and by what method you will communicate with your children. Include how each of you as parents will share daily responsibilities associated with child-rearing.
The custody and visitation schedule should also address the following and more:
- Week and weekend parenting time
- A school break schedule
- A holiday schedule and family traditions
- Notice requirements for canceling visitation
- Sibling visitation schedules
- Grandparent and relative contact
If sudden changes arise in your circumstances or with your spouse, you can modify the parenting plan by proposing those changes to the court overseeing the child custody arrangement.
What else should I consider?
Attempt to keep your children at the center of the conversation to maximize stability in their lives. Be careful not to disrupt your children’s regular school hours. Consider the distance between your and your ex-spouse’s residences and the overall expense of visitation. Also, discuss what you and your spouse need from each other to support your children.
The ultimate goal is to develop a parenting plan that permits your children to have a relationship with both parents.