Raising children takes a tremendous amount of patience, time, and dedication. Most couples are thankful that they have each other to lean on when rearing children, especially in the event that serious issues arise. But when things go awry in the relationship, and both parents still want to remain involved in their child's life, parenting must be approached differently.
Divorce forces parents to identify and protect their own parental interests, instead of thinking of the best interest of the family as a whole. Separate living arrangements and contentious relationships between parents drastically change the dynamics of relationships. This is why a thorough, well-thought-out parenting plan can help parents remain effective through tumultuous times.
Parenting plans are court-ordered agreements created and negotiated by divorcing spouses. Without the help of an attorney, many parents end up drafting a bare-bones parenting plan that causes the children to suffer. Some children ultimately end up missing out on time with either parent, their grandparents, and other extended family. They may also miss out on the medical care they need due to vague provisions or missing details in the parenting plan.
What Goes Into an Effective Parenting Plan?
In order to create an effective parenting plan, parents must openly discuss the most important facets of their respective parental responsibilities as well as what is in the child's best interest. These plans are extremely detailed and should cover everything from who will be tasked with making primary decisions, to how serious issues should be resolved if they ever arise. Here are some key factors that should be accounted for in your parenting plan:
- The child's age and maturity
- Each parent's work schedule
- The distance between both parent's homes
- The child's daycare and school schedule
- The developmental, medical or social needs for each child
- Holiday traditions as celebrated prior to separation
- The quantity of care by each parent prior to separation etc.
What Should Your Goals Be?
A thorough parenting plan will include goals that, when achieved, will fulfill the emotional and physical needs of your children as they navigate this new arrangement. Most parents gauge “success” by how smooth day-to-day decisions and interactions are, and how rare instances of frustration and miscommunication become. In order for a parenting plan to be deemed effective, consider the following four goals:
- Maximum time is spent with both parents, as well as extended family
- Allow space for adaptability to the parenting plan to suit everybody involved
- All milestones include the presence of both parents
- Minimize the loss of an already established routine (hobbies, friends, extracurriculars, traditions, etc.)
Creating an effective parenting plan can save you time and money down the line, so it's important that it's done right the first time. If you obtain the help of an attorney, a plan can also spare you time in court.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Create a solid parenting plan with the help of New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento. Schedule a consultation today online or by phone at 888-535-3686.