About 40-50 percent of marriages in the United States end in a divorce.
A divorce is a difficult time for spouses who have shared all the special moments together. While parents can easily forget the memories and move on, the whole process becomes traumatizing for children who are caught in a mess they’re oblivious about.
Establishing a parenting plan during the divorce period is essential for the welfare of the minors. The innocent kids deserve to have their parents’ attention, even if they (parents) will not be staying together anymore.
A custody agreement will determine how every parent will continue to take care of the children involved. If you don’t know how this should go, read this article to help you create a successful parenting plan.
Involve the children
When the children are old enough to understand what is going on, it is important to involve them in creating a parenting schedule. When they are involved, it will become easy to determine their needs and what they want.
Children should not, by any means, get caught up in the middle of a divorce crisis. Both parents should talk to the kids about the divorce and make them understand. The children should be made to understand that the parents love them equally, and the divorce will not change anything in their lives.
Understand your Parental Rights
Each parent has a right to be with the children 50% of the time if this is possible. If you have the time to attend to your child’s needs, the other parent should not interfere with your parental rights after a divorce.
You need to share legal and physical custody in equal measure. You should get involved in every decision concerning their lives, including education, medical decisions, lifestyle, etc. You are allowed to involve a family law lawyer if you sense that the other parent is interfering with your rights.
Traveling with the Child
The parenting plan should state how and when a parent will travel with the child every year. If by chance, one parent plans to relocate, the other one must be consulted before proceeding with the relocation if the child is involved.
The provisions about traveling with the child should state that another parent must notify the other before relocating to another city with the child. They must sign the travel documents and allow the child to move with the other parent.
Revising the Parenting Plan
It is normal and allowed to want to revise the custody plan at one point in life. Children grow every day, and some things might change. This must be indicated in the initial plan of how you will go about revising the plan if necessary.
You should also have a way of resolving issues that may arise during revision and be sure that every one of you agrees to the revision.
Involve a Lawyer
It is a good idea to involve a family lawyer when writing a parenting plan. This is especially important if the plan involves parents who are not in good terms. In this case, every parent will communicate their ideas and opinions to the co-parent through their respective lawyers.
An attorney can also act as a mediator in this situation. They can help interpret some legal terms and explain any legal implications that may arise if any parent fails to recognize the provisions in the plan.
A lawyer helps both of you ensure that you’ve touched everything necessary in a child custody plan.
Have a Clear Communication Plan
Communicating with your partner after a divorce is not easy, especially a messy one. However, when children are involved, you need to put your differences aside and come up with a proper way of communication.
Several issues come up in the life of a child, and every parent has to get the information. You need to plan how you’re going to communicate all these issues. You should identify a method of communication that you’re both comfortable with.
Understand all types of information you need to share. It is not good to assume that some kinds of information are not necessary as the co-parent may not take it lightly, causing disagreements.
Plan Financial Responsibilities
While drafting a parenting plan template, financial responsibilities are the most essential thing to consider. This is usually the most contested thing between parents and if necessary, should involve a family court lawyer just to ensure that everybody gets fair or equal parenting responsibilities.
If you’re not the one who’s staying with the child, you may have a fixed amount which you must pay every month to cover the expenses. The amount usually depends on the income of every parent. Ensure everything you agree on will work fairly for both of you to avoid future wrangles.
Make Important Decisions
There are important decisions involving the life of a child that requires the involvement of every parent. If you have to decide on lifestyle choices, each of you should be happy with the decisions.
Lay down some important rules and regulations that every parent should follow when with the child. Discuss how you will discipline the child if they fails to meet your expectations.
Other essential decisions include education choices, religion, culture, important events, diet needs and luxury. Each co-parent should be comfortable with the decisions to avoid any conflict of interest in the future.
You should be reasonable enough and ready to accommodate the decisions of the other parent when creating a custody agreement. Look at the relationship and the special bond your child shares with the other parent and don’t try to get in the way.
You should not go to the extent of bad-mouthing your fellow co-parent and trying to convince the child to hate them so that you get full child custody. Regardless of the flaws and the differences you two may have, the child still needs to love and respect the other parent the same way it applies to you.
Hire a Family Law Lawyer
Sitting down and writing a parenting plan together is a good way to speed up the divorce proceedings and ensure everything concerning co-parenting is handled fairly.
If you’re having difficulties finding a family lawyer near me to help with the whole process, you can contact us for help.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.