A parenting plan, which is required in Maryland between most divorcing parties with minor children, ensures that the children will have enough time with both parents after the separation. It is very critical that both parents create a fair parenting plan that protects their children’s best interests.
A parenting plan is a formal, written agreement that addresses many parenting issues. It is separate from documentation regarding child custody and child support, although the parenting plan may touch upon these issues. The more time that parents spend developing a parenting plan, the less likely the plan will need to be altered after the divorce.
Parenting plans may have to be changed over time, particularly when children reach milestone ages. For this reason, a parenting plan can include a timeline to review the plan annually, so it still makes sense for everyone.
What are the Benefits of Creating a Parenting Plan?
Many parents may think that parenting parents are not fair arrangements. In some cases, one parent may want to get all the time with the children or attempt to have a greater influence on the children by manipulating the plan. However, a parenting plan should not be used as a tool to harm the other parent.
What are other advantages of a fair parenting plan? Foremost, it puts all the emphasis on the children and their physical, mental, and emotional development. Rather than concentrating on what the parents want, the parenting plan outlines what the children need. As a result, children whose parents construct fair parenting plans tend to feel more secure after divorce. The children can be included in the planning if they are old enough and mature. If they are not able to participate in constructing the plan, they can be shown parts of the plan so they have an idea about their future routines.
A parenting plan helps a lot of divorcing spouses avoid having to repeatedly return to court to discuss matters that could have been outlined in the original document. Less time in court means lower costs for the divorcing parties, as well as a less contentious divorce.
What Should I Consider When Developing a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan allows children to have routines after a divorce, which helps them feel more comfortable and secure. Everyday schedules are often a huge focus of parenting plan drafts. Parenting plans address where the children will live, visitations, and holiday, seasonal, and work schedules.
In addition to typical schedules, parenting plans often include discussions about holidays and special occasions. For example, parents may agree to have their children every other Christmas and Thanksgiving. They may also talk about how they can both participate in the children’s birthdays. Generally, the children will spend Mother’s Day with their mother and Father’s Day with father, although this might not be easily attainable. A fair parenting plan will address these concerns ahead of time.
Are Extracurricular Activities Included in Parenting Plans?
Extracurricular activities are often talked about in parenting plans, including who pays for the events. If a child is involved in plenty of extracurricular activities or sports, a specific outline of pick-ups and drop-off locations may be necessary to ensure a safe, easy exchange between parents.
How are Educational, Medical, and Lifestyle Decisions Handled in Parenting Plans?
Other considerations that can be included in a fair parenting plan involve medical, educational, and lifestyle choices. Usually, parents will want to have equal say in medical decisions, such as health care providers and treatments.
Education and lifestyle considerations can be more difficult to agree upon, especially if one parent wants to raise the children in a certain faith or does not believe in having the children attend private school. If needed, parents may want to speak with their lawyer for advice on how to come to an agreement.
Can a Parenting Plan Help with Communication?
Finally, parenting plans can discuss how the information will be shared between the parties. For instance, parents may want to arrange a weekly email update to keep one another up to date. Any future developments involving relocation of a household or remarriage may be touched upon in the parenting plan. Ideally, the parenting plan will cover multiple post-divorce scenarios.
What if Parents Cannot Agree on a Parenting Plan?
Many parents rely heavily on pre-made parenting plan templates to help them begin forming this essential document. Some parents simply cannot work together to come up with satisfying arrangements. If this is the case, they may want to consult a knowledgeable lawyer. A lawyer will help the parents make essential decisions while protecting the children’s best interests.
Baltimore Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Divorcing Parents Create Fair Parenting Plans
If you are going through a divorce, it is beneficial to speak to a lawyer about a parenting plan. If you are having trouble creating a fair parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, speak to our Baltimore child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We help parents create efficient parenting plans so that their children are secure. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County.