Divorced Parents and Child Custody—3 Options for Creating a Parenting Plan

iStock_000021340778_SmallIf you’ve been through a divorce and have children, you know there are many decisions that need to be made for your children. These decisions are all going to be legally based due to the divorce in order to ensure the proper care and support of any minor children. One of the main things divorced parents will have to work on together is a parenting plan. This plan needs to be carefully drafted so that the child’s best interests are service and the parents’ rights aren’t violated. Once a parenting plan has been created, it is considered a legal document.

What Is A Parenting Plan?

According to the Department of Justice, a parenting plan is a document that outlines how the divorced parents will raise and support their children. This legal document includes such information as:

  • How decisions regarding the child will be made
  • When each parent will spend time with the child
  • Who the child will live with
  • How religious, educational and medical decisions will be made
  • Who children will spend holidays and vacation time with
  • Whether written consent is needed in order to take the child out of the state, county or country
  • How to deal with parenting issues and conflicts

3 Options Divorced Parents Can Take When Creating a Parenting Plan

How do divorced parents go about creating a parenting plan? There are three options they can consider.

  1. Create the Plan Themselves. Of course, the easiest option would be for the divorced parents to work together to create their parenting plan. They know each other and the needs of their children better than anyone. Taking the time to work together to create a parenting plan will ultimately save time and added expense.
  2. Create a Plan With The Aid of A Mediator. There are times when ex-spouses cannot meet together to create their plan. The situation would become too volatile, nothing would be accomplished and the emotional harm done might make coming to any agreement in the future even more difficult. The divorced parents can choose a professional mediator or utilize their divorce attorneys in this capacity. Mediation will help direct the conversation to a more productive outcome.
  3. Have a Judge Create a Parenting Plan. If all else fails and no agreement can be made between the divorced parents even with mediation, a judge can step in and create a legally binding parenting plan.

Talk To Your Family Lawyer If You Have Questions about Your Parenting Plan

Dealing with an ex-spouse can be difficult, especially if there are children involved. When you have to communicate with them, it might be best to have a family attorney involved, particularly at the beginning of divorce proceedings. A family lawyer can help you to make sure the decisions you’re making will be in the best interests of your child and that your rights won’t be infringed upon. If you’re facing divorce, call the law office of John C. Fitzpatrick. We’ll help you through the divorce process—from filing for divorce to creating a parenting plan.