What Is a Parenting Plan?

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When parents of minor children (or dependent adult children with special needs) choose to legally separate, divorce or otherwise cease their romantic relationship with each other, they face tough decisions regarding how they will co-parent their children moving forward. Raising children in two separate households is a very different reality than raising children together under one roof. Working with an experienced family law attorney in order to construct a parenting agreement can help to ensure that the best interests of affected children are met no matter which parent they are currently residing with.

Parenting plans can be informally drafted. But in order to ensure that their terms are enforceable, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that they are properly structured and filed with the courts.

Constructing an Enforceable and Effective Parenting Plan

When preparing to create a parenting plan, the best place to start is contemplating your child’s best interests. From home life to extracurricular activities, medical needs to maintaining important relationships, what is it that your child truly needs? How can these needs be met in healthy and effective ways now that you and your child’s other parent are no longer together? Once you have the skeleton of a parenting plan complete, you can discuss any questions you may have with your attorney and receive guidance related to the ways in which you may need to approach fleshing the proposed document out.

Additional considerations you may wish to address include the ways in which you and your co-parent are expected to communicate information, scheduling challenges and responsibilities for various aspects of your child’s care. It is in this way that a parenting agreement may serve as an extension of your child custody agreement. Any important parenting issues that could benefit from being agreed to in writing can generally be addressed in your parenting agreement. From your child’s religious upbringing to when each parent can introduce your child to a significant other, you can generally outline your approach here. You and your co-parent may be able to come to an agreement in re: terms without much oversight. But if you need assistance working through your differences, mediation and/or attorney-led negotiation may be beneficial.

Parenting Plan Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about child custody generally or parenting plans specifically, please consider connecting with an experienced family law attorney today. Consultations are confidential and do not commit you to taking any action whatsoever. Instead, consultations are designed to help you obtain answers to any questions you may have so that you can make an informed and empowered decision about how best to move forward in accordance with your child’s best interests.

You need not be shy about voicing concerns or seeking to “bounce ideas off” an attorney, as a trusted lawyer only wants to help you find the healthiest way forward under your unique circumstances. If you are navigating co-parenting in the wake of a decision to divorce or are otherwise seeking to make your existing co-parenting arrangement healthier and more effective, please consider connecting with a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD to discuss parenting plans today. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and parenting plans. 

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