Parenting plans are written agreements that specify how children will split time in divorce or co-parenting situations. They also define each parent’s expectations and responsibilities regarding raising their children as co-parents. Final divorce decrees cannot be granted until a parenting plan is approved for divorce cases involving minor children. Creating a parenting plan can be a time of high emotional stress, which makes it challenging to ensure all vital aspects of time-sharing are covered within the plan. Here are the top scenarios that should be addressed in a parenting plan but are often overlooked.
Holidays and Vacations
You’ll want to develop a plan for how your children will split their time during school breaks, holidays, and vacations throughout the year. How you decide to time share during holidays will depend on how close you and your ex-spouse live, whether you’ll travel to visit out-of-state family members, and the length of time the children have off from school. Examples of time-splitting scenarios for holidays and vacations may include:
- Splitting the holiday between both parents.
- Alternating years.
- Establishing fixed holidays with each parent.
Parents should include expectations and responsibilities about school-related events and meetings in their parenting plans. This is especially important if one parent’s work schedule may conflict with the transportation necessary to bring the child to school and related activities. You’ll want to address whether stepparents can provide transportation and support with these activities. In addition, you’ll want to describe each parent’s financial responsibilities regarding these activities. Will costs be split 50/50 by each parent? Will one parent be solely responsible for paying for activity-related expenses? These are questions you’ll want to consider.
Important Family Celebrations
It’s likely that important family celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries, may occur outside your regular time-splitting schedule. For example, your mother’s birthday may fall on a date that your children are typically with your ex-spouse. If it’s important for the children to see their grandmother on that specific day, you’ll want to address this in your parenting plan.
If your child is sick and needs to leave school or daycare, who will pick the child up? How long will the child stay with a parent when they’re sick? When will time-sharing resume? These are all questions you’ll want to answer in your parenting plan. This refers to temporary illnesses that may affect the parenting plan for a few days, not chronic conditions or disabilities that impact the time-sharing schedule permanently.
You’ll also want to establish guidelines for other parental responsibilities, like communication preferences outside of regular visitation time, in your parenting plan. With many communication methods available in today’s mobile digital world, you’ll want to set parameters for phone calls, texting, video calling, and social media messaging with the other parent during your visitation time. This section could also include who will be responsible for maintaining the children’s medical and school records and who will be listed as an emergency contact.
Create A Parenting Plan with Remsen Family Law Firm
Developing a parenting plan is a stressful part of divorce proceedings. Tensions are often high between parents, so it’s important to have a divorce attorney ensure a favorable outcome for you and your family. Remsen Family Law Firm is dedicated to helping Lake County and Central Florida families with divorce cases, custody arrangements, parenting plans, and child support. Call our office at (352)-234-8270 for a consultation.