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Teamwork to create a parenting plan helps to ease divorce

If you and your spouse can work as a team to develop a successful parenting plan, the divorce process will go more smoothly.

This will set you, your children and your ex with a smoother post-divorce family life, as well.

Looking at an alternative

Your initial thought in terms of the divorce process might be traditional litigation. If concerned about your children, however, you may want to consider a less adversarial option, such as mediation.

Keep in mind that if you choose litigation, a judge will determine how your parenting plan will work, whereas with the other option, you and your spouse will create a plan together and maintain control of raising your children.

Deciding on a schedule

The main focus of your parenting plan will be the framework for physically caring for your children. The court wants children to spend as much time with both parents as possible so as to receive the benefits of close, loving, familial relationships.

Usually, children will have a home base with one parent and enjoy a series of visits, including weekends, certain holidays and summer vacations with the other parent. Leave room in your plan for adjusting the schedule to accommodate birthdays and other special events.

Making major decisions

Another important part of your parenting plan is deciding who makes major decisions, such as those concerning education, health care, discipline and religious upbringing. You should also decide how you and your soon-to-be-ex will communicate about such matters.

Settling on expenses

There are day-to-day expenses and there are additional costs, such as unexpected medical or dental expenses, piano lessons or perhaps a special school-related field trip. Your parenting plan should address these costs with the goal of maintaining financial stability in the raising of your children.

Submitting the plan

If you choose divorce mediation, your mediator will provide guidance as you and your spouse team up to write your parenting plan. The end result will be a clearly written plan containing all the points you and the other parent have agreed on and that you will be comfortable submitting for the court’s approval.

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