If you have minor children, you will need a custody and visitation plan that will inform the court of the custody and visitation arrangements. If you and the co-parent are in agreement on the major issues, you might be able to formulate a plan on you own or draft one that a family or child custody lawyer can review with you. It is best if you set aside emotions when crafting a plan and consider this a contractual arrangement that covers all potential contingencies and situations and how to resolve any disputes that may arise. Whether your divorce is amicable or not, having a legal professional look over the plan and advise you or help you draft one is recommended so that you are cognizant of your legal rights and can avoid costly and protracted disputes now and in the future.
Some of the considerations in a parenting plan may include:
- Who will be the primary custodian
- If necessary, detail the days when the co-parent will have custody including times of pickup and deliveries and where and how they will take place
- Payment of medical, education, recreational, community and after-school programs and activities
- Holiday and special event arrangements
- If supervised visitation is agreed or ordered
- Travel arrangements and communications concerning travel
- How to request a temporary or one-time modification
- How disputes will be resolved; i.e., mediation
- Arrangements so that both parents are aware of medical, education or other concerns and issues, and are included on communications from doctors, teachers, coaches and others involved in the child’s well-being or care
- Any other relevant issues considering the child’s age, character and needs
A carefully crafted parenting plan can allay many contentious issues in a divorce and help restore routine and a sense of security to your child.