Finding a way to split up the parental role that you once shared fully with your spouse during a divorce can be difficult. It is common for former spouses to disagree strongly about what is the optimal custody arrangement for their children and to expect that the courts will weigh in and make certain determinations on their behalf.
As divorce has become more common, the court orders and rulings related to custody have also become more comprehensive and complex. Rather than simply allocating custody to one parent, it is now customary for the courts to approve a parenting plan that outlines many different details of the parental role in the lives of the children.
You and your ex will have the option of creating your own parenting plan as part of your divorce. If you choose to do so, what are some of the issues you need to address?
Parenting time and transportation are critical custody issues
Being very detailed in how you lay out your expectations for shared custody will make it easier for you and your ex to cooperate after the divorce. Setting appropriate times or creating a detailed schedule for the exchange of custody, as well as determining the location where the exchange will take place is often part of a parenting plan.
You will also have to address transportation to and from those custody exchanges and the necessity of providing transportation for the children to normal daily activities. For example, your parenting plan may include a rule that states that the parent with current parenting time is the one who must provide transportation. Other times, you may handle transportation differently, especially if one parent doesn’t have a vehicle or license.
Parenting plans often include decision-making power, education and medicine
Who will provide medical insurance for your children? Do you have to talk before your child receives emergency treatment or routine medical care? Have you agreed about what schools you want your children to attend, the extracurricular activities they can participate in or the standard you expect regarding the grades they receive?
Your parenting plan can discuss everything from the expenses associated with education to how religious observance might affect the medical care your child receives. Committing all of these details to writing will ensure that you have a guide to help you if issues arise in the future, as well as specific terms to help guide your co-parenting relationship.