Whether you were in the middle of a divorce when the pandemic hit or have only recently made the decision to separate from the other parent of your child, you’re now in the position of creating a plan for co-parenting that will stand up to even the harshest circumstances.
If you’re looking for a jumping off point, here are some tips for creating a comprehensive parenting plan that will address current events while remaining relevant for years to come. And don’t forget to contact a family law attorney in Minnesota to help you draft the document and ensure it’s legally binding.
What is A Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a document created by using a more collaborative approach to co-parenting. It does not require the parents of the child to have a formal custody arrangement, so you don’t need to determine legal or physical custody before making a parenting plan. The goal of a parenting plan is to outline how both parents agree their child should be raised regardless of which parent the child is living with or spending time with at any given moment. It generally includes guidelines for parenting time, education, healthcare, holiday time, time with extended family members, and financial details about which parent will be responsible for which expenses. It also must include a way for resolving any conflict between parents.
Parents who gravitate toward co-parenting plans are generally those who get along relatively well. To be successful in creating a parenting plan, both parties must be willing and able to compromise in order to ensure their child’s best interests are the priority. If you and your spouse have already decided where your child will live, for example, a parenting plan will help the noncustodial parent feel like they have a say in their child’s life.
Even if you don’t get along well with your co-parent, you may find a parenting plan helpful. If you can put your differences aside long enough to create one master plan, you may be able to address awkward situations such as who gets to attend which extracurricular events upfront so you won’t have to deal with it in the coming years.
Once you’ve created your parenting plan, you’ll need a court order to make it an official document. A family law attorney in Minnesota can help you create a parenting plan that will be approved by the courts.
How to Create A Successful Parenting Plan
First, remember that you must have a court order to change the parenting plan in the future. This will be relatively easy to obtain if you and the other parent agree to the changes, but you can avoid having to change your plan by ensuring it is comprehensive and all-encompassing from the start.
When creating your parenting plan, be sure to consider issues that may arise as your child grows up. How will you handle things like dating, extracurriculars, and academic expectations? If your child is seven now, you may feel like these issues are miles away. But we all know kids grow up fast, so you’ll need a game plan sooner than you think.
Since you are creating this plan for the best interests of your children, you’ll want to cover extensively how you’ll resolve conflicts between the adults. We all know conflict between parents can be stressful and detrimental to kids. Include your plan to resolve familial conflicts privately, whether over the phone or in person, but without your child present.
Minnesota Lawyers for Parenting Plans
Maxim Smith Family Law is a law firm dedicated to providing collaborative options for families. Your divorce or custody case doesn’t need to be contentious; if you can get along for the sake of your child, you may be able to take a low-conflict and inexpensive approach to co-parenting. To learn more about creating a parenting plan or any of our other family law services, contact our attorneys by calling 651-294-2407.