Parents getting divorced have a lot to consider and a lot of negotiating to complete before they agree on a parenting plan that will be in their child’s best interest that both can agree to sustain long term. The parenting plan lays out all of the custody, residential time and visitation regarding your children so it is extremely important. Make sure you know what it contains and, possibly more important, what it should contain.
Every divorce case is different. Due to the differences between cases, no two parenting plans will be the same either. The specifics will depend on your particular situation, but generally speaking, your parenting plan should include and address the following.
Residential Schedule: Possibly the biggest part of the co-parenting lifestyle, the parenting plan lays out where the child lives in exact detail. The breakdown will vary, but the regardless of what form of custody, visitation, etc. you agree on, it will be laid out clearly here in the residential schedule section of your parenting plan.
Holidays: Parenting plans will address how holidays will be divided in connection to the children and the time they spend between their parents. When it comes to the most common setup, most parenting plans split holidays between parents. This is often accomplished by alternating holidays. For example, the father may spend Christmas with the children on even years while the mother spends Christmas with the children on odd years.
School Breaks: Children look forward to every school break and many parents do as well. It is very important that school breaks are included in the parenting plan so that there is no contention later regarding who has the kids during which breaks. School breaks can be divided however best suits the situation, but common methods of dividing school breaks include alternating breaks (father having fall break with mother having spring break with winter and summer breaks split between the two) or splitting all school breaks; for instance the father receiving the first half of the break and the mother receiving the second half of the break.
Decision Making: When a child is in the care of their parent, that parent has the ability to make immediate decisions like what to eat, where to go, etc. But when it comes to making major life choices about education, health care, religion, etc. the parenting lays out who has the authority to make what decision. Most parents have joint decision-making powers. This means they work together to make major decisions. But parenting plans may limit this power in certain areas or entirely depending on the situation.
If you have questions about your parenting plan or if you aren’t sure what to include in your parenting plan, please get in touch with one of the experienced divorce attorneys at Aronow Law PC so we can help you avoid co-parenting stress after the divorce is final.