Divorces can be stressful, especially when children are involved. Parenting plans are a good way to map out what post-divorce life with the kids will look like. However, because no one can predict the future, there may arise unforeseen circumstances that are simply unavoidable, and these circumstances may lead to a child custody modification being necessary. It can be time consuming and frustrating to continuously go back to edit parenting plans. That is why we offer some tips to keep in mind when the initial plan is being drafted.
In parenting plans, it is important to specifically state all intentions and proposals. You should avoid vague terminology such as “frequent” or “often” when discussing topics like visitation rights. Such terms have no definite meaning in court, which leaves parents to interpret their own schedules. That is why it is imperative to specifically state every rule and order. Usually courts will not allow vague terms in parenting plans but it is better not to leave anything up to chance.
Much like the need to avoid vague terms, it is important to list out and state specifically what each parent is and is not allowed to do. Each parent should clearly know their boundaries when dealing with their children. Restrictions can be as serious as how far parents are allowed to take their children during travels to something as simple as what their child eats. Whatever specifications you have, it is important to discuss and list them, so that no one is surprised in the future.
Children’s files can be tricky territory. Files such as educational records and medical records can be sensitive and contain private information. As such, it is important to list exactly who can look at them. If a parent intends to date again or remarry, it might be worth noting if the new significant other will have access to the files.
In order to avoid making extra changes to parenting plans, it is worthwhile to try to look ahead. Although you can never know what the future holds, it is helpful to discuss and plan out events such as college and religious affiliation.
Although parenting plans might need to be altered from time to time, if they are planned thoroughly from the beginning, you can avoid having to make significant changes in the future. At Harris Law Firm, our experienced family law attorneys can help you form a parenting plan that works best for your situation. Call for a consultation today.