An Overlooked Component Of Parenting Plans

If you have ever spent time on our website, you may have noticed the guide we created about developing a strong parenting plan. Your ability to communicate effectively with your spouse may have suffered toward the end of your marriage. The irony is that the two of you must reform that skill set to be the kind of co-parent your children deserve. Communication is not a soft skill; you must devote time to becoming good at it. Understandably, you may struggle at first—you may struggle for years. 

This is something that your children do not need to see because they are not a part of this piece. A strong parenting plan gives you and your spouse a blueprint for how you will share custody of your children. In the absence of solid communication, default to the parenting plan. It can address the following issues:

  • Custody 
  • Where the exchanges take place
  • When they occur
  • How information will be shared (e.g., how much notice you need to give before taking the child out of the state)
  • What will you do if you and your spouse cannot agree on something (e.g., what happens when both of what to pursue different medical forms of medical treatment)
  • Options for mediators you will use
  • How much communication will the child have with the other parent when they are physically located with the other parent (i.e., frequency of phone and video calls)

These are only a few things that can be articulated in a plan, and your attorney will work through them with you. With that, let’s discuss something that many people tend to overlook. 

Build a Lasting Plan

The plan that works best for you today may be lined with holes quickly. For example, imagine that you are getting divorced, and you and your spouse share a four-year-old child. 

  • Will the plan still work when the child begins school?
  • Do you and your spouse live in the same school district?

Sharing custody may make perfect sense when you have a toddler, but when the child begins attending school, there may be logistical problems. After a short amount of time, you now have an ineffective plan. Granted, you and your spouse may be on good enough terms to work through this independently, but you could still be working on communicating and forming a new type of relationship (co-parenting). Whatever plan you and your spouse come up with, ask yourselves (and your attorneys) how flexible the plan is. You need to look at the physical distance between both parents and recognize that your situation will be different soon. Will one of the two spouses return to work?

Here’s something specific to consider: How will you split Christmas? Many people decide one person will get Christmas Eve, and the other will receive Christmas day. Easy. What happens when you or your spouse meet a new partner? And then that partner wants to spend Christmas with their extended families 200 miles away? Yes, we are deliberately making challenging scenarios, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Instead, divide the winter break up evenly to allow for travel. Build a plan that doesn’t put you into a corner logistically over the years. 

Build Your Parenting Plan with Us

The best part about everything we have mentioned is that your attorney will do a significant amount of it for you. Your job is to come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible. (Don’t worry; your spouse must do the same thing!) Eventually, you may be such a strong co-parent that you and your former spouse navigate hurdles as they appear. Contact us, schedule a consultation, and begin shaping your parenting plan.

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Andrea L. Gamalski Attorneys at Law

Andrea L. Gamalski understands how important it is to have a compassionate and empathetic family law attorney who fights hard for their clients in the courtroom–mainly because she’s been one of these clients herself.

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