Parenting Plan FAQ’s for Divorced Parents
If you are a parent who has decided to divorce, you are probably worried about how this will affect your children. Fortunately, there are many families who live in separate homes who are able to co-parent effectively and lovingly. If you are currently separated or soon will be, there are some things you should keep in mind when working on a parenting plan or custody agreement.
Who Decides on Parenting Plans?
Ideally, a child has both parents in his or her life. However, if you are getting divorced as a result of domestic violence, abuse, addiction issues, or other dangerous circumstances, it may be best not to share parental responsibilities. For those parents who wish to share the allocation of parental responsibilities, a co-parenting plan will be vital.
Parenting plans, or parenting agreements, are ultimately approved by the courts, but couples are encouraged to create their own parenting plan. A judge will always approve a parenting plan which protects the best interest of the children. Parents who fail to submit their own parenting plan to the court for approval are at risk of having the court make decisions related to parenting time and responsibilities for them.
What Should Be Included in a Parenting Plan?
Parenting plans are all different and depend on the individual circumstances of the family. When making a parenting plan, experts suggest parents consider:
Parenting time schedule which outlines when each parent will have possession of the child;
- Parenting plans for special events like holidays and birthdays;
- Transportation considerations such as who will take children to school or other activities;
- Decisions regarding the child’s involvement in after school activities or sports;
- Parenting time with grandparents or other family members;
- Alternative child care for times when the parents are both unavailable;
- Guidelines for when it is appropriate for a parent to introduce the child to a new love interest;
- Rules and discipline decisions;
- Healthcare decisions such as which vaccinations the child will get; and
- Religious or cultural expectations.
Many parents include decisions in their parenting plan which are not listed here based on their individual circumstances. Parents should make sure their plain is as fair and consistent as possible. Parents should also be willing to be flexible and modify the parenting plan based on changing circumstances in the future.
Who Can Help with a Parenting Plan?
If you need help with a parenting plan or another aspect of your divorce, the experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC are ready to help. For a confidential consultation at our St. Charles office, call 630-549-0960 today.