A parenting plan, also called a custody agreement, serves as the bedrock agreement for parents sharing custody of children. This agreement will spell out important information about visitation, custody, and access. It should also explain how parents will make decisions regarding education, extracurricular activities, and medical care.
Parents are free to draft their own parenting plan, and many parents work diligently toward creating a parenting plan through mediation. When parents can’t agree, a judge will usually adopt a standard possession order, which identifies each parent’s schedules and who will have children on major holidays.
Our Galveston family law attorneys offer the following tips to those creating their own individualized plans.
Be Mindful of Transportation Costs
One parent might travel a long way to drop off or pick up the children, and they can incur considerable expenses. Do not overlook how these travel expenses will be paid. Although you could assign the full cost to the parent doing the traveling, it might be fairer to split the costs.
Don’t Forget Each Parent’s Birthday
The standard possession order identifies who the children will be with on their birthdays, as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But many parents want to be with their children on their own birthdays. You should address this in the parenting plan if that is a concern for you, otherwise you are counting on the other parent’s goodwill to let you see the children on that day.
Discuss Make Up Time with the Children
Life constantly intervenes. Chances are high that at least once a year a parent can’t take possession of the children due to a conflict or the child has a conflict. As children age, extracurricular activities often make it difficult for parents to see their children. Your parenting plan should discuss whether a parent gets make up time with their children and how the parents will settle on a day and time.
Schedule Time to Talk by Phone, if Necessary
If parents live far apart, the non-custodial parent might rely heavily on phone calls during the school year to stay in touch with the kids. You might want to schedule a time, at least initially, when these calls will take place. This is particularly important if you suspect your ex will try to keep your children from talking to you.
Identify How You Will Resolve Disputes
Disputes arise frequently between parents, even when they make a good faith effort to co-parent. Your parenting plan should identify how you will resolve these disputes. For example, you might participate in arbitration or mediation.
Get Help Creating Your Parenting Plan
It’s hard to cover all bases, but an experienced Galveston child custody lawyer is a terrific benefit. Our lawyers can review your agreement and then flesh out important details. The more detailed your plan, the more likely you are to avoid escalating conflicts in the future.
Contact Tad Nelson & Associates
We have helped draft many parenting plans and we know the essential details. Call us to schedule a time to meet.