You and your attorney will work through many things during your divorce. The biggest will be those related to your children. Although it may seem like time-sharing is the most important, many parents find that, in the end, the parenting plan is the document that requires the most work. If you have yet to discuss your parenting plan with the co-parent, here are some things to think about so you can complete this important document more easily.
Your Unique Situation Will Dictate Part of Your Plan
Assuming you and the co-parent live in close proximity, you and your divorce attorney will work through the basic parenting plan outline. However, there are situations where this plan is not possible or not in your child’s best interest. There are three other options for parenting plans for these other situations.
- Long-distance plan – If one parent is more than 50 miles away, but you two feel that you can communicate and put your child first, this plan may be right for your needs.
- Highly structured plan – Co-parents with a high level of animosity generally need a plan with greater detail. It is most often utilized in divorces where mediation or collaboration have failed.
- Safety-focused plan – When there is a history of abuse (whether domestic, drug or alcohol) or other things that may put a child at risk, you need to prioritize the child’s safety.
Elements in Parenting Plans
If your divorce is like most we see, you and your former spouse no longer see eye to eye on many things. The goal of a parenting plan is to have common ground on how to raise your children. You want as much detail as possible. The details help reduce disagreements on virtually every aspect of your child’s upbringing. And, from our experience, the more detail you put in writing now, the less likely you will need to come back and pay your divorce attorney more money to solve an issue. Here are the basic items you will need to include in your parenting plan.
- A time-sharing agreement with specifics as to how, where and when exchanges will take place.
- Details regarding their educational upbringing, this includes after school activities, participation in sports and religion.
- Whether costs associated with the child’s upbringing such as fees for sports, school, after school and summer child care, and co-pays and insurance are split evenly or covered by one parent or the other.
- Who will make major medical decisions such as vaccines or lifesaving medical interventions.
- An outline for today and into the future as to how the child can and will communicate with the other parent during alternating visitations.
Depending on the age of the child or children, you may also want to include details about driving and associated insurance coverage, social media usage, and travel with other family members and friends.
Let Wagstaff & Pitelis Help
No matter where you are in your divorce, we can help you with a parenting plan. Even if you already have one but feel that it needs modification because the children are in a different stage of life, call us. Our experienced family law attorneys will help you create a new parenting plan that works today and into the future. Reach us at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form today.