When parents are divorcing, the well being of their children is generally a shared priority.
Sometimes it is easy for both parties to agree that they should institute a co-parenting arrangement. After all, you are both invested in your children’s well being, and many former couples determine that means allowing the kids time to spend with both parents.
However, even though you may have come to an easy agreement that you should be co-parenting, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with all the parenting decisions that your former spouse will make. In fact, some of these differences of opinion may have already come up throughout your marriage and had no resolution. If you and your ex have a high level of positive communication about your children and can respectfully handle some differences of opinion, a parenting plan is likely your best option for determining how the kids will be raised following the divorce.
Developing a Co-Parenting Plan
A co-parenting plan is a relatively new concept introduced in the new millennium to expand upon the previously vague terms of joint custody and shared parenting agreements. The lack of negotiated stipulations between parents would often cause friction or confusion down the line. With a parenting plan, the choices you and your ex-spouse make about parenting will be presented to the court and recorded to ensure that these stipulations are followed. However, the terms of the agreement are not determined by a judge, but rather, the parents have the right to determine the terms of the plan. One benefit to creating your Parenting Plan is that it is generally easier to revise than it would be to re-determine custody.
It’s important to create a parenting plan that both parents will agree to so they can ensure their children are parented in a similar manner regardless of the parent with whom they are spending time. During the process of creating a parenting plan, it’s crucial for you to effectively make your preferences known and have your high priority parenting needs agreed to by your former spouse. You’ll need an advocate who has taken the time to understand your needs and can guide you through this process.
Beth Barbosa has over 20 years of experience as a family law attorney assisting with all things related to custody, child support, and parenting plans. Beth knows that this is a difficult time for the whole family, and she understands your desire to maintain a level of consistency for your children by staying on the same page as your former spouse. A well-thought-out plan will ease the confusion of this transitional period in your family’s lives, and Beth will guide you through the process with genuine compassion and honesty.
Addressing Difficult Parenting Issues
A parenting plan is meant to deal with all the difficult and divisive aspects of raising children. Since you are going through a significant transition and cannot predict how it will affect your co-parenting efforts, it’s best to agree upon as much as possible during this initial process to avoid confusion or arguments later. In your agreement, you will determine parenting time, vacation, and holiday schedules in a way that works best for your family. While you are creating your parenting plan, it is also a good idea to discuss how you will handle new issues that will arise as your children age.
Some issues you may want to address in your plan include:
- The decision-making process
- Communication between parents
- Financial obligations including child support
- Medical expenses
- Consistency in discipline and parenting style
- Relationships with extended family members
Does this seem like a lot to consider and agree upon? That’s understandable. It can certainly be overwhelming, especially since in many cases, you’re making decisions about issues that may not arise for years to come! A well-versed family law attorney can help to ensure you don’t leave anything out of the process. Beth Barbosa is just the professional for you. She will ensure that your voice is heard and you arrive at the end of the process having made the decisions that you believe to be the most beneficial to your children.
If you need assistance with creating a co-parenting plan, contact Beth Barbosa today to get started.