Understanding how a couple will approach parenting following divorce is important to determine. That is why it is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with what their parenting plan and child custody arrangement might look like.
Child custody and a parenting plan
Child custody can be shared custody or sole custody. There are also physical custody and legal custody determinations that must be made and a decision on visitation may also have to be worked out. A parenting plan can help parents handle child rearing decisions as they come up.
A parenting plan may include certain considerations such as:
- The needs of the children as those needs change as the children grow and mature over time;
- Specifying that both parents will have access to the child’s official records;
- That the custodial parent will make daily decisions for the child, including emergency decisions, while the child is in their custody and care;
- Designating how child will spend birthdays and other holidays;
- Specifying vacation time and how it will be spent;
- Specifying how transportation arrangements will be handled;
- Specifying when supervision is required; and
- Confirm that the parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interests in most circumstances.
Protecting the child’s best interests
What is in the child’s best interests is always the focus of any child custody determination. A parenting plan that sets forth parenting time and how the children will be raised following the divorce can help ensure the best interests of the child are met and that there is a workable child custody arrangement in place for the family.