When facing divorce, couples must decide not only the separation of their assets, but also how to handle the changes that affect their child. California courts have the responsibility of approving the decisions made on behalf of the child and advising both spouses to work together to establish a parenting plan. The plan should establish boundaries, rules, schedules and authority for certain decisions. There are many things to consider when discussing your plan.
One of the biggest worries divorcing couples face is what their parenting schedule is going to be. Parents need to remember to put the child's best interests ahead of their own desires. There are several questions that must be answered to form an appropriate plan.
- How will school and sports activities be accommodated?
- What will happen on holidays?
- How will summer break be handled?
- Will the child's needs for sleep be met?
- What happens if one parent wants to move?
- Is the child going to spend too much time traveling?
Coming up with a simple weekly plan is a great start, but keep in mind that there will always be changes and adjustments that may need to be made, which brings up the next point for discussion.
How would you like to communicate with your spouse once you are divorced? Some parents prefer to use text messaging or email, while others are comfortable talking on the phone or in person. There will always be issues that need discussing, so it is important to establish boundaries in the beginning.
You may also run into issues you are unable to resolve on your own. It is important that the parents decide what happens in such cases before they arise. Generally, a mediator is hired to offer an unbiased opinion and help determine a solution.
The court determines child support and alimony, but there are several costs not included in that payment. Parents need to work together to determine who is financially responsible for things such as:
- Sports fees and equipment
- School activity costs
- Medical bills
- Health and car insurance
- Car payments
There are also many other expenses that can come with raising children. Having the decision already made in the parenting plan means that both parents are legally responsible for items they have agreed to.
Working out a parenting plan can mean less stress in an already difficult situation. By consulting with an experienced attorney, you can create your plan with much less conflict and have the help of an outside, unbiased opinion.