Working with your spouse to create a mutually-satisfactory parenting plan may be a critical step in the divorce process if you have children. An attorney can guide you through this experience, ensuring it is not left to the court to make sure child custody decisions because you and your spouse were unable to work together on these issues.
To avoid leaving out any important details when generating a parenting plan, keep the following tips in mind:
A parenting plan needs to include a relatively detailed parenting schedule. These guard against future disputes regarding when it is one parent’s turn to spend time with their children.
However, don’t forget that you or your spouse might want to see the children on certain days, such as holidays, birthdays, and other special events, even if doing so would conflict with the established scheduling agreement. Be sure to address these potential exceptions when creating a parenting plan to avoid getting into arguments you hadn’t anticipated later.
Your goal when developing a parenting plan should be to prioritize the best interests of your child. However, when collaborating on a parenting plan with your spouse, you can end up focusing so much on making sure you strike the right balance between getting what you want and making reasonable concessions that you forget a simple fact: your child may have some of their own opinions on the terms of a parenting plan.
Naturally, you must consider your child’s age and maturity level when determining to what extent their input should influence the final terms of your parenting plan. A young child who is not mature enough to understand how a parenting plan will affect them might not be able to provide much practical feedback. That said if your child is old enough and your attorney believes it is appropriate, asking them to discuss some of their desires when generating a parenting plan might be worth your time.
The time a parent spends with their children can take many forms. For instance, in our digital age, along with spending in-person time with their kids, some parents might also actively communicate with their children through video calls.
These are, of course, not substitutes for face-to-face visits. You shouldn’t let your soon-to-be ex take advantage of you after your divorce is finalized if they attempt to suggest that a Zoom call you had with your children is enough to satisfy the terms you agreed upon when you decided how the kids should split their time between the two of you. Just make sure your parenting plan accounts for these types of “cyber-visits” so there is no confusion in the long run.
Part of developing a parenting plan usually involves discussing the general rules and policies a child will have to abide by. This is important. Conflict will inevitably arise if the rules a child must follow when spending time with one parent differ greatly from those they follow with another parent.
When discussing these issues, remember that rules and policies change as a child grows. If your kid is 10 now, rules about bedtime and curfews they must currently follow probably won’t be the same as the rules they must follow when they are 15.
All that said, these are only a few suggestions. Developing an ideal parenting plan takes many steps and requires addressing numerous issues.
This is easier to do when you have a lawyer’s assistance. Los Angeles parenting plan attorney Teresa Beyers has significant experience helping spouses develop thorough parenting plans that satisfy them, their children, and the court. Learn more about how she can do the same for you by contacting our firm online or calling us at 213-236-4400.