There are many important issues to resolve during the divorce process. This is even more so true when there are children involved. Child custody decisions can prove contentious even amidst the most amicable of divorces. Still, child custody and parenting decisions must be agreed upon and memorialized in the parenting plan. Once the court approves the plan, it is legally binding on both parents and compliance is required.
There are several fairly common mistakes people make in establishing a parenting plan. We discuss them here in the hopes that it will help you avoid them.
Parenting Plan Mistakes to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes that you should avoid in your parenting plan is not having a specific parenting schedule. It is a wonderful thing if you are getting along with your co-parent and you want to be flexible with each other’s parenting schedules. This, however, may not always be the case. A specific parenting schedule will set healthy boundaries despite the ebb and flow of your relationship with your co-parent. The two of you are, of course, always welcome to agree upon deviations from the established schedule, but having that specific schedule in place to come back to can help manage expectations.
Another big mistake people make in their parenting plans is not having a move clause for the custodial parent. This is a provision that states a discussion must be had prior to the custodial parent moving residences. It is understandable that proposed moves like this can turn into heated battles rather quickly. The move clause can establish how to handle this situation should it arise in the future.
Travel terms are also commonly left out of parenting plans and they should absolutely be included. Some parents travel frequently, especially if they have family living out of state or abroad. If you worry that your co-parent may take a trip with your child without discussing it with you first, travel terms are an absolute necessity to be included in your parenting plan.
It is also a mistake to leave out provisions for dispute resolutions. No matter how amicable the co-parenting relationship may be and no matter how detailed a parenting plan may be, disputes may still arise. Putting a provision in your parenting plan that provides for this situation is a smart move. You can help avoid another court battle by going to mediation.
It is also important to avoid leaving out a plan for childcare. The parenting plan should address who will be watching your child when you are not around, whether it be for work or something else. You can even request the right of first refusal in your parenting plan. This means that, should the other parent require childcare, such as a babysitter, he or she must first ask if you are available to care for the child prior to bringing in someone else. Should you be unable to do so, then the other parent can leave them with the babysitter or childcare provider of his or her choice.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
At Orlando Family Team, our team of dedicated family law attorneys understands the importance of a solid parenting plan and the many benefits it can bring to a post-divorce co-parenting relationship. Contact us today.