When facing a child custody situation, chances are you will be overwhelmed with a number of questions. The process you are soon to begin can be a contentious one. Your child is probably the most important thing in your life. If you are in the process of divorce and share a child, sorting out child custody may be one of the most difficult things to have to manage. The process can become not only emotionally fueled but incredibly contentious. Developing a parenting plan, while not required by all states, is a necessity for a divorcing couple who have children together. Despite the animosity you and your ex may have towards each other, drawing up a plan for how you will share in the care of your children will be key. This can ensure that child custody goes as smoothly as possible for you and your children.
What makes up a parenting agreement?
A parenting plan is key when sharing custody of a child in that it incorporates key elements that are vital to the care of your child. In addition, most parenting plans also outline the process for decision making, communication and managing contentious situations with each other. The idea behind a parenting plan is that the child’s care will remain as consistent, planful and uninterrupted as possible. A parenting plan should be detailed. As much as it can be easy to have the mindset that you and your ex can make decisions together as they come your way, this can not only create tension, it can also create problems. Key elements to a parenting agreement should include:
- The process for making decisions
- How you will communicate with the other parent
- How disagreements will be managed
- The child’s visitation schedule with each parent
Why do I need a parenting agreement?
The parenting plan should always keep the child’s best interests at the forefront. This can easily get lost when vying for time with your child. A parenting plan can help the process of shared parenting be a smoother one and ultimately reduce the amount of conflict that you stand to face. Parents know their children better than anyone, putting together a plan with them in mind can ensure that you are able to make agreements that work for you and your family.
What if my spouse and I cannot agree?
When there is no parenting agreement present, the courts may take it upon themselves to draw up a plan for you. By failing to come to an agreement surrounding the plan, you put yourself at risk for losing control over this aspect of the process. In most cases, when there is no parenting plan, the courts will make determinations based on the information that has been presented to them. As a result, parents put themselves and their children at risk for a plan that is not customized to their own needs.
Will an attorney help with a parenting agreement?
An attorney can help to negotiate the terms of your parenting agreement. They may play a key role in making sure that the plan you create is comprehensive and carries you through the next 18 years of your child?s life. Family attorneys are often well versed in this area, meaning, they will be able to keep sight of key factors that should be incorporated in the plan that you had not considered.
Parenting agreements are key, however, in some situations, attorneys may be required to help negotiate with one another. In some cases, a divorce mediator may be an attractive option for putting together this type of plan. A parenting agreement can provide a variety of benefits for not only the divorcing couple, but for the child. Having a plan to refer to as you co parent can prove to be incredibly helpful as it will help the both of you know how to respond in situations as they arise. An child custody lawyer Bloomington offers can help to negotiate your interests and ensure that nothing is left out of the plan.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into family law and parenting agreements for child custody.
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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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