You and your spouse used teamwork in the raising of your children. With the upcoming divorce, that will change, and a restructuring will be necessary.
The job of co-parenting does not come with an instruction book. However, a parenting plan helps with the learning curve.
Why the parenting plan
You know your children better than anyone else. For this reason, family courts often recommend that parents facing divorce negotiate a parenting plan rather than submitting to the decisions of a judge in child custody matters. If you and your spouse can work together to develop an effective parenting plan, you will have guidelines to help you co-parent with more confidence and less frustration.
What to include
Every plan is unique. However, basic elements begin with preparing a weekly timesharing schedule. The court will want to see that you and the other parent plan to spend as much time as possible with your children. Allow for holiday, special event and summer vacation timesharing. Also, include your plan for making major decisions for the welfare of the children and define who will take responsibility for various child-related expenses.
How to gain approval
The court will want to know how you and the other parent plan to raise your children in a post-divorce world. The judge will focus on the best interests of the children and your willingness to cooperate in caring for them and meeting their needs. Remember that your parenting plan is a legal document. Teamwork can produce a well-written plan that will work for you and your children, one the court will be able to approve.