At a certain point during divorce proceedings, you and your ex will discuss child custody matters. This process typically involves deciding appropriate arrangements for your children and creating a parenting plan.
These plans can also consider unique factors in a divorce case, including domestic violence. Typically, a parenting plan indicates the following details:
- Court findings that could require restrictions, whether mandatory or discretionary
- Residential schedule of the divorcing couple’s children
- Child custody decisions that could affect the children’s welfare
- The course of action during disputes, whether a party should proceed with alternative dispute resolution methods or court action
Even if parents express their opinions regarding child custody matters, the court finalizes decisions according to the children’s best interest. The court could also examine factors affecting the children’s safety and welfare.
Why is a parenting plan essential?
Parenting plans are not just for show. They are enforceable like other court orders. A parenting plan aims to:
- Address the child’s physical and emotional needs
- Consider the child’s future as they grow into an adult
- Set clear lines between each parent’s role and obligations regarding their child
- Shield the child from disputes between parents
- Motivate parents to fulfill their commitments to their child
- Always uphold the child’s best interest
Ideally, this plan should give each parent time and involvement in their children’s lives. However, it can also provide regulations accounting for significant factors affecting parent-child relationships.
Additionally, a child’s needs could change anytime during or after the divorce. In these instances, parenting plans can undergo modifications to accommodate the child’s changing needs.