A divorcing couple will likely face numerous obstacles that can lead to emotional and financial turmoil. From negotiations centered on child support and spousal support to those focusing on property division and debt responsibility, these two individuals must agree to certain compromises that are beneficial to the entire family and their independent futures.
It is wise to work together through the legal process to come up with solutions to as many problems as possible at this early stage. While it will be impossible to account for every issue, here are three common elements that can be addressed in the parenting plan you write during your divorce:
- Holiday schedules: Not only can you determine national holidays and school vacations, but you can develop plans about birthdays, graduations and other important dates. Additionally, parents can work together in advance to make plans for bad weather custody exchanges and acceptable proxies if necessary.
- Neutral custody exchange locations: It is not uncommon for the divorcing couple to part ways on unfriendly terms. When this happens, it is wise to set up a neutral exchange site or put terms in the parenting plan that account for a third-party to be involved. A neutral site such as a park or a mall food court can reduce or eliminate the chance for an unpleasant, emotional scene during a child custody exchange.
- Punishment communication: It will be impossible to consider every action deserving of a punishment when writing a parenting plan, however, certain agreements must be made. For example, the parents should communicate the offense and the punishment meted out so it can be honored at both parental locations. It makes no sense to have an early bedtime or limited phone use at mom’s house, and have those restrictions lifted when at dad’s house. The parents can discuss the type of preferred communication and how much advance notice is necessary.
While it is virtually impossible to account for every contingency in the months or years following a divorce, it is wise to lay the groundwork for communication and compromise. Even if a specific problem is not addressed in advance, with the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can put plans in place that help you and your ex work through whatever issue has arisen. A professional can help you navigate the legal process and reach a beneficial compromise regarding your parenting plan.