A major question when parents’ divorce is how to best provide for the interests of their children. A parenting plan answers that question and gives parents a structure to work with as they learn the co-parenting skills that will reduce conflict between them and provide their children the stability they need.
What is a Co-Parenting Plan?
A co-parenting plan is a written document that memorializes how the children are going to spend time with each one of their parents. It provides clear guidelines and expectations as to how time is going to be divided.
Benefits of a Co-Parenting Plan
There are many benefits to both parents and children to have a written co-parenting plan. Some of those benefits include:
- It provides consistency for the children. They know when they will be staying at which parent’s home.
- It takes into account the parent’s work schedules.
- It can provide for children’s school vacations and holidays.
- It considers the children’s extracurricular activities.
- It may outline whether the children will go to counseling.
- Articulates whether the parents will have shared legal custody, which means they will share decision-making.
Some other aspects of a parenting plan that courts often want to see in the plan include:
- Making sure both parents are on the school’s list for communication, getting grades, picking up the children after school or when they are sick.
- Parents agree to keep the other parent informed of any after-school activities like school plays, band concerts, teacher conferences, etc.
- Parents also agree that the parent who has the children with them will allow the other parent to contact the children by texting, emailing, or FaceTime.
Why Does the Plan Have to be in Writing and Filed with the Court?
When parents are amicable, they often wonder why the parenting plan must be in writing and filed with the court. The written document is like a road map to refer to for parents and it can act as a default plan when there are questions in the future about how to handle certain situations.
In higher conflict situations, it provides a set of instructions or guidelines on how to handle situations that arise with the children. In those cases, the more details that are in the plan the easier it will be for both the parents and children. They can refer to the plan and engage in respectful communication with each other. If the parenting plan is filed by the Court, it can be enforced in higher conflict situations.
The focus of the parenting plan is always on the best interest of the children. The plan can be modified when necessary.
The Law Office of Rebecca Medina can assist you with your parenting plan whether you are using Mediation or a Collaborative Divorce process. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with any aspect of your divorce or parenting plan.
This article was originally published on Collaborative Divorce California at the link below https://collaborativedivorcecalifornia.com/divorce-kids-and-co-parenting/