Divorce is generally seen as a litigative process that involves the dismantling or breaking apart of a relationship. For many, the phrase “working together” doesn’t seem to jive with the term “divorce”. Thankfully, more and more people are opting for a collaborative divorce with a focus on working together to fairly craft two separate lives.
Even for those parents who cannot have a collaborative divorce, working together for the sake of the children will be necessary for ensuring the best possible transition into a timesharing custody agreement.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a legal agreement that details the time-sharing responsibilities of parents for minor children. It is required by Florida law for all custody cases that include time-sharing. A parenting plan spells out when a parent will be responsible for a child and what those responsibilities include. In addition, parenting plans also help determine who will be responsible for medical care, extracurricular activities, holidays, and more. A Tampa child custody attorney can assist you with creating your plan and working with your soon-to-be ex to help ensure that your children’s best interests are being met.
Do I Need a Parenting Plan?
If you plan on maintaining a time-sharing custody agreement after your divorce, you will need to create a parenting plan with your ex-spouse. Failure to create an adequate parenting plan that both parties can agree to will lead to the court creating one for you. No one wants to have third party exert this kind of control over their lives. It is always best for those who know the children—their parents—to work together to craft a parenting plans that meets their needs and the needs of both parents moving forward.
Thankfully, this isn’t something you have to do alone. Your Tampa child custody attorney can work with you to help you brainstorm all the different scenarios in which child custody and parental responsibilities must be detailed.
What Should a Parenting Plan Entail?
A parenting plan covers all of the day-to-day minutiae that go into raising a child. While some parenting plans can be relatively straightforward, others may require some wrangling to get the perfect plan into place. A parenting plan must cover any health care issues, who will be responsible for decision making, responsibilities towards extracurricular activities, a time-sharing schedule, a holiday schedule, the exchange or drop off, and more. It’s a lot to cover in one document and may take a lot of negotiation and forethought in order to craft an appropriate plan. It may also require amendment through the years as the children covered under the agreement grow.
How Can I Work With My Soon-To-Be Ex to Make a Parenting Plan?
When working on a parenting plan, it’s important to be realistic, honest, and thorough. Knowing your limitations as a parent, an individual, and as a future co-parent can help you create a plan that is reliable and comfortable for everyone. Remember, the goal is providing your children two safe environments for them to feel at home in and to grow in.
For this to work best, it takes two people devoted to their children and requires them to set aside personal anger, anxiety, or other negative emotions, in order to place the children front and center. While working on a parenting plan won’t resolve the other issues, it does illustrate the commitment you and your ex-spouse have towards ensuring a safe space for your children.
It is often useful to work with an attorney who understands collaborative divorce to help you craft a parenting plan that works for everyone. Such an attorney can provide a framework and give you prompts to think about before beginning an agreement so you can fully consider the impact of a parenting plan.
The importance of working together to create a parenting plan cannot be understated. Parents who fail to compromise or plan may find the court planning for them. It is always better for the people who best know the children—the parents—to collaborate on their future upbringing than to allow for the court to do it for them. While it isn’t easy, it is certainly worth it.
Your Tampa child custody attorney can help you craft a parenting plan that takes into account the needs of your children, as well your needs. They can help you through the process of working together with your ex to create the most suitable plan for your children. The expertise and experience of a skilled Tampa child custody attorney can ease what can be a difficult process and help you through a difficult time.