Divorcing parents spend a considerable amount of time drafting a comprehensive parenting plan to plan contingencies and avoid future disputes. Unfortunately, mistakes will be made, and the reach of the plan might be overextended. It is wise to go through the parenting plan thoroughly when making decisions.
It is not uncommon for a divorce proceeding to be mired in conflict and confusion. The couple is attempting to divide assets, divide debts and agree on financial negotiations centering on support. The development of a parenting plan might often take a backseat to these other issues, but there are important tips to remember:
- Avoid general wording: Whether you are agreeing to the visitation schedule or planning contingencies for the child custody exchange location, it is crucial to avoid any sort of vague language. Using language without a clearly defined parameter can lead to disputes in the future.
- Don’t ignore the possibility of financial problems: Job loss, medical emergencies or emergency home repair could all lead to financial peril. It is wise to at least address contingencies related to unemployment.
- Discuss conditions for communication: This is a parameter that might change over the years, but it is wise to consider the best way to communicate issues, questions or problems. If you’d rather receive email than a phone call, clearly state your preferences in the parenting plan.
- Discuss body modifications: It is not uncommon for children to grow up desiring piercings, tattoos and other body modifications. Parents might not be able to agree to a decision but can at least lay out the steps that a discussion will follow.
- Specify travel restrictions: If a parent decides to take the child on an international vacation, it is not uncommon for the other parent to be blindsided. You can use the parenting plan as an opportunity to discuss how these decisions are communicated.
The parenting plan is an important tool for the future of a healthy relationship. Even divorces that end amicably can become mired in disagreements when parents don’t see eye to eye regarding child rearing. Look for legal guidance when drafting a parenting plan.