If you are a parent of a minor child, you will need to develop a parenting plan for yourself and your former spouse to follow after your divorce. Except for cases in which the child is at risk of being harmed, it is in a child’s best interest to maintain a consistent relationship with both parents after those parents divorce. Developing and maintaining parenting plans is a part of family law.
Try to work with your spouse to develop a parenting plan together. This way, you will both be able to express your interests to create a mutually satisfying parenting plan that benefits your child. Use the following guidelines to make this process easier for yourself and your former spouse.
Always Consider Your Child’s Academic Needs
The child’s relationship with each parent is a primary concern in the development of any parenting plan. Other issues to consider include the child’s medical and personal needs and his or her academic needs. Generally, children do not do best in school when they are uprooted and moved to new districts halfway through the school year, but be sure to weigh all of your child’s academic options carefully. Determine if living primarily with one parent instead of the other would put your child in a district where he or she has access to more resources and more rigorous coursework.
Find Ways to Collaborate with Your Former Partner
Communication between you and your former partner is key in all areas that involve your child. Once the parenting plan is in place, you will need to be able to communicate effectively to maintain the parenting plan; start working together now to make it a smooth transition for all members of the family.
Flexibility and a willingness to cooperate are also critical parts of a parenting plan. Do not think in terms of “winning” and “losing.” Even though you are no longer married, think of yourselves as a team whose goal is to help your child develop into a healthy, well-adjusted adult.
Focus on the Long-Term Impacts of a Parenting Plan
Always look to the future when you are developing a parenting plan. Balance the long-term benefits of a proposed plan with the short-term benefits. As we discussed above, your child’s academic progress should be one of the issues you discuss. This might involve researching different middle and high schools for your child. Also think about how your parenting plan will impact your child’s relationships with extended family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
Work with an Experienced Family Lawyer
Facing the prospect of having to share your child’s time with your former partner can be difficult, but it is a necessary part of any divorce between people who have children. To discuss your state’s child custody guidelines and learn more about what you can expect from this portion of your divorce settlement, contact our team of experienced family lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.