If you have children, a parenting plan is required by law when you divorce. The purpose of a parenting plan is to set in clear, unambiguous writing an agreement of how to raise, share, and care for children when the parents are no longer married.
A good plan establishes ways for both parents to continue to have meaningful involvement in their kid’s lives. Referring back to a clearly written plan can help parents resolve future disagreements, and also serve as the blueprint for making decisions as the child grows up and their needs change.
A parenting plan help parents work out the essential questions. The main areas a parenting plan covers include:
- Whether both parents will have equal access to medical records and the authority to make medical decisions for their child should the need arise.
- Whether both parents will have shared, equal access to all educational information such as school schedules and grades.
- Which parent will be responsible for providing health, dental and vision insurance for the child, and who covers uninsured medical expenses or if those will be shared.
- A complete detailed visitation schedule, including drop off/pick up times and how parents will notify each other of schedule changes
- A plan for how summer vacation, winter and spring breaks will be handled, and how each holiday and important occasion will be shared or split, such as Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, etc.
- Arrangements for the continuation of your child’s recreational activities, whether it’s piano lessons or soccer.
- If one parent lives some distance away, how travel expenses will be paid and who will handle those arrangements.
- If and when domestic or international travel is permitted, and requirements for notification of travel arrangements, where the child will stay, who they will be visiting, etc.
- Plans for timely notification if one parent changes his or her physical address or telephone number.
- Agreement to keep the child’s needs in mind, and that children will not be involved in parental disputes.
It is important that divorcing spouses work together to come up with a plan they both can sustain and that best meets their child’s needs. Ultimately, a judge will review the plan and sign it to make it legally binding. In cases where parents are unable to resolve disputes on important issues, even after mediation, the court may impose a parenting plan. Although the process can be difficult and stressful for all involved, throughout the divorce and custody proceedings, please remember that the way you conduct yourself can have lasting repercussions for you and your children.
All of us here at Raza & Jones, LLC understand this is a challenging time for our clients. As a family law firm, under St. Louis County’s Order pertaining to COVID-19 we are considered an essential business, and we remain open and available to all our clients. Our entire firm is working remotely, using our videoconference account to meet with clients or speaking by telephone. We are committed to delivering the same high standard of compassionate, effective representation we’re known for, in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.