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10 Ways a Parenting Plan is Critical When Divorcing

10 Ways a Parenting Plan is Critical When Divorcing

Divorce is rarely a positive event, and an unfriendly divorce can leave children in a state of anxiety. And, when minor children are involved, a divorce can be complicated. Local courts across the nation are keen to this, and most states have now altered how courts intercede. Gone are the days of automatic assignment of dependent children to the mother, while assessing a child support requirement and short-term visitation upon the father.

Contemporary state courts use a "parenting plan" format regarding the biological children, and there are several reasons why having a workable parenting plan is crucial to a reasonable divorce. Here’s 10 ways this plan is critical when divorcing:

1. Protects the Rights of the Children


Dependent children in a divorce proceeding rarely have legal representation, so the court becomes the child advocate. Not only should the children be protected with specific provisions, but they still have legal rights even though they are minors.

2. Maintains a Traditional Family Structure


The dynamic of the nuclear family structure has changed drastically in the past 20 years, but the need for clear definition of family roles has not changed. The mother and father are still the mother and father, even if the division of responsibility today results in slightly blurred lines. Children can be easily influenced during their formative years and good communication is a key component to emotional development.

3. Allows for Flexibility


The needs of dependent children change as they grow older. Again, this is true for emotional growth as well as physical growth. Also, many children are special needs children and parents should always be sensitive to this issue. A good parenting plan will always allow for alteration for the good of the children, and not necessarily for the good of the parent. Children should not sacrifice in development because of the whims of a parent or step-parent.

4. Promotes Continuing Family Unity


Couples can dissolve their marriage and divorce each other, but parents cannot actually divorce their children. Some semblance of family unity needs to be maintained. Each minor child should have adequate private time with each parent, except in situations where domestic violence may have been problematic. Many divorces are messy and children can be affected in many ways, including parental alienation. Broken homes do not necessarily mean broken families. There is a real difference.

5. Defines Established Visitation Times

The old model of child custody often created instability in terms of official visitation times and delivery methods. A good parenting plan will spell out both of these concerns. Picking up a child at the home of either parent can provide bad results and put stress on everyone involved. Sometimes designating a specific neutral location for transfer of the children can make visitation periods much more amiable and constructive.

6. Establishes Rules for Outside Contact with Children


Social media can rule the day in the digital world. While letters used to be a common communication method before parenting plans were introduced by the courts, in the contemporary world it is emails and cell phones. Parents are usually about ten seconds away from their children at any moment with the common use of cell phones. And, children have cell phones just like the parents. While this can be a very good thing for parents and children alike, a good parenting plan can also set boundaries on this particular issue.

7. Addresses Holiday and Vacations


Holiday seasons and extended vacations can impact an established parenting plan, especially when the parents live in different states. Sometimes the "bird-nesting" plan model can even be used. This occurs when the children stay in a central location and the parents do the actual traveling. This is often a necessary option for families with significant assets or multiple homes. Holidays can be particularly stressful times, and divorces are often the underlying reason. These are also important events in the life of a child and predetermined visitation schedules can help.

8. Stabilizes Educational Concerns for Children


It is always important to a minor child where they live on some level. Some children prefer different school systems, especially when the size of the school is in play. Younger children often do much better academically in smaller schools with more teacher access, while others may actually enjoy the large number of children available for interaction. It is not uncommon for particular children to live with a particular parent.

9. Defines a Course of Action with Delays


Delays can be exasperating and create confusion, including which parent has the final say in what needs to be done concerning children. A good parenting plan will address this possibility and lessen stress on everyone in the family.

10. Improves Overall Family Cohesion


Anxiety and apprehension can be a component of every personal relationship, and this can apply particularly to parental relationships. While some children value their relationship more with one certain parent, it is still very important in the emotional development of all children throughout their youth to have a solid healthy relationship with both parents.

The current method of providing for visitation with children for divorcing couples has actually proven to be more effective than the old visitation model. When we fail to plan, we are often planning to fail. According to the Firm of Shapiro Law Group, a good parenting plan formulated by a professional divorce attorney can address all issues before established visitation can actually begin, allowing for less complication in a naturally complicated and emotional situation. You can learn more about Shapiro Law Group’s success stories and how they formulate parenting plans here.

Photo courtesy of © drx - Fotolia.com

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Thursday, 11 August 2022