Divorce is tough. And when there are children involved, it’s even more challenging. But, no matter how messy your divorce gets, you should always keep your children’s needs at the forefront. One of the ways to do that is with a parenting plan.
A parenting plan lays out all the details that will become part of your custody arrangement. And when you’re working with your soon-to-be-ex, you need to consider what’s best for your children first. For example, when you’re considering visitation, think about school schedules and how far each household is from their extra-curricular activities.
It’s essential to ensure that the parenting plan you come up with is suitable for all involved. In addition, you will want to avoid some common mistakes when creating a parenting plan because after the court approves the plan, it is legally binding, and all parties must comply. Here are some of the mistakes you should avoid.
No Specific Parenting Schedule
Even when you and your co-parent get along well, you should still completely lay out parenting time in your parenting plan. Of course, in the future, you and your spouse can deviate from the plan, for example, switching weekends, which wouldn’t require court intervention, but you should specify your parenting time schedule.
Having a schedule laid out in your court-approved parenting plan will help you avoid any future issues. Remember to also specify in your plan how you will handle holidays and school breaks.
Leaving Out Childcare Plans
Your parenting plan should also address who will be taking care of your child when the parent is not around, which can include when they are working, or any other time they would need to be away from the child(ren). You can also request the first right of refusal. That means that if the other parent needs a babysitter or childcare, they are required to ask you if you are available before approaching someone else.
Not Including a Move Clause
One big issue you should include in your plan is what will happen if the custodial parent chooses to move. The provision should state that a discussion must take place before the custodial parent changes residences.
A move like this can quickly become a battle. So having stipulations written into your court-approved parenting plan can help avoid problems should you face this situation in the future.
Failing to Address Medical Care Provisions
Even if you decide to split the costs, you should include which parent will cover the medical care cost in your parenting plan. You should also include provisions about future medical care such as orthodontia or surgery.
Not Including Travel Restrictions
If your family frequently travels, if you have out-of-town family, or if you or your co-parent travels overseas, you should absolutely include a provision that discusses travel. This is especially important if you have any concerns that the other parent will take the child on a trip without consulting you first.
No Provisions for Future Disputes
No matter how well you get along with your co-parent and how easily you may put together a parenting plan that works for the two of you and your children, there is still a chance that issues may arise in the future. Therefore, it’s essential to address how the two of you will handle these issues and who will cover the costs.
A great first step in these situations is mediation. Mediation is when a neutral third party works with both parents to reach an agreement. This is a great way to resolve disputes without taking the matter to court.
Failing to Address Future Education Costs
You should address how you will handle the child’s educational choices in the future. This includes regular education expenses, private schools, and college expenses.
Avoid Mistakes in Your Parenting Plan, Let Hunter Fowler Help
Despite how you and your ex feel about each other, you should still strive to have a stress and anger-free co-parenting relationship. Your children need both parents, so try to focus on what is best for them when establishing a parenting plan. They need to know that no matter what happens between mom and dad, they are still loved unconditionally and will be taken care of.
Attorney Hunter Fowler knows that every parent wants what’s best for their children. That’s why he makes your family’s needs a priority when working with you to create or modify a parenting plan. He has negotiated many successful parenting and child support plans and will walk you through the legal process to get the best results for you and your family.
Contact Hunter Fowler today.