When you divorce or separate from your spouse, there may be dramatic effects on your relationship with your children. Managing your time with your children under this new set of circumstances is crucial for maintaining a healthy dynamic during the post-separation and post-divorce period. And to do this, a good relationship with your ex will also be necessary. Studies have shown and courts believe that how well divorcing individuals can cooperate is a key factor in whether children adjust well and happily. As a part of divorce negotiations, you and your ex will develop a parenting plan together to address how you both will spend time with your children. This blog post will explain what a parenting plan is and address some common concerns that pop up when drafting one. Keep reading to inform and prepare yourself, and remember that the best preparation is an experienced Union County child custody attorney to guide you through.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
You and your ex will agree on a parenting plan that sets up a schedule for the time both of you spend with your children. This involves determining questions who has physical custody of the children. Who will the children live primarily with? Will the children live with both parents at different times, or will one parent only have visitation rights? In certain situations, supervised visitation time may be necessary.
Parenting plans don’t need to deal solely with time management, as they can touch on other important questions of your children’s care. For instance, you may negotiate and decide on how each of you will participate regarding your child’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, decision-making, and financial support.
Every person is a unique individual, and similarly, every person has their own, unique parenting style. For this reason, no two parenting plans are the same. You and your ex should be flexible enough to accommodate the differences in parenting styles between the two of you, considering differences that may arise now that you are no longer living together. You need time to adjust to your new rhythm of parenting, as your child needs time to adjust to their new circumstances.
After you and your ex have settled all of these questions, you will submit the completed parenting plan to the court, then file it as an order.
What If I Can’t Agree with My Ex?
It’s usually in everyone’s best interest for you and your ex to come to a mutual agreement. You know your needs and situation best, and as we’ve discussed, good cooperation between the parents helps keep disruption at a minimum for your child.
Nevertheless, if you are having difficulties in your divorce negotiations, you may file a motion, which is a written request to the court, to work with a Family Court mediator. You are also allowed to talk to a private mediator, a counselor, or an attorney for help in finalizing your decisions on the parenting plan.