An integral part of a divorce agreement is the custody and parenting piece. Parents are able tailor a unique plan that addresses how co-parenting will work post-divorce. Working cooperatively to develop a plan that reflects the parents’ schedules and the family’s needs helps to alleviate stress and provides stability for the children. Custody provisions detail how major decisions concerning the children will be made. Parenting plans can include many details about how the week will work, including: when each parent will be responsible for the children, pick-up/drop-off times and locations, holiday schedules, and communication preferences. These plans can also address special terms related to COVID, domestic and foreign travel and significant others. All of the provisions should be clearly laid out to eliminate confusion and possible frustration. Of course, some families prefer a more flexible, liberal schedule; especially with older children and that can be memorialized as well. Each family has a unique situation and the parenting plan should be consistent with the parents’ priorities and values as well as their work schedules. If the Children are young, parents can include a provision concerning when the parenting arrangements will be reviewed. Provisions that address what happens if there is a disagreement can also be included. The following are considerations for co-parenting agreements: Continue Reading
Moms and Dads that choose mediation or collaborative law usually want to create a stable, healthy environment as the family reconfigures during a separation and divorce. A well thought out parenting plan helps children and parents move forward in a positive way. Continue Reading
(There are many possibilities…)
A parenting plan outlines how separated parents will continue to care and provide for their children. An effective plan is one that is unique to the family situation and contains information about the parenting time schedule and how decisions related to the children will be made. It also outlines the plan for medical and health care coverage, education and extra-curricular activities. Some parents want a more flexible plan, and some want a consistent schedule. The focus should be on the needs of each child and what is workable and practical for the family. Continue Reading
As divorced parents plan the family’s first holiday season under new parenting arrangements, there may still be lingering stress and tension from the divorce. Each parent undoubtedly wants to spend as much time as possible with the children, and even when formal arrangements have been agreed upon, it may be hard to stick to the schedule. Focusing on a solid co-parenting plan and keeping the children as the main focus can not only provide for a smoother holiday, it may also lay the groundwork for the New Year to come.
Co-parenting arrangements come in all forms and are tailored for the unique needs of each family. A common arrangement is for the parents to alternate each holiday on an annual basis. Sometimes parents may opt to split holiday time equally – perhaps Christmas morning is spent with the mother and Christmas evening with the father. Alternatively, parents may arrange a holiday schedule so that the children celebrate certain holidays the weekend prior to the actual holiday, and then spend the actual holiday with the other parent.
Regardless of the arrangement, there are certain considerations for the parents, which could help, ease some of the unwanted stress and tension of the season:
The term “nesting” is used to describe an arrangement where the children remain in the family home while the divorcing parents take turns living in the family home and in another location. (The parents move in and out of the home rather than the children moving between homes.) Nesting is an option that some parents consider as a transitional parenting arrangement because they want to keep the children’s living arrangements in place for a period of time during and/or post divorce. In practice, nesting is something that requires cooperation and communication from both parents, and careful consideration should be given before nesting is used. Continue Reading
Many parents come to mediation wanting a 50/50 parenting schedule. That usually means that both parents are concerned about maintaining a strong relationship with the children once Mom and Dad separate. Shared parenting is usually a positive experience when the parents cooperate to create a workable plan that respects the bond between both parents and each child. Continue Reading
Taking trips with the family post-divorce should continue to be a fun, memorable experience regardless if it’s a day trip or longer. Moving forward, most families benefit when the parents work out a concrete plan for how vacation time will be spent with the children. This helps to create stability and certainty in making vacation and travel plans and in the children’s lives. Continue Reading
The divorce process is an emotional time. Tensions surrounding a parenting plan may mount even when both parents prioritize the needs of the children. Responsiveness, stability, and practicality are significant factors in developing a parenting plan. As parents begin to develop a parenting plan, the need for flexibility is also very important in creating options that consider the child first. Continue Reading
I recently posted a blog focusing on the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie divorce, specifically that the collaborative law process may be beneficial for the couple. In addition to the general benefits of the collaborative process and how they may be applied to the Pitt/Jolie divorce (the previous blog can be viewed here), the Brangelina case is also an excellent candidate for collaborative law because of the children. Continue Reading
When constructing a parenting plan, the goal is that both parents maintain a meaningful relationship with the children. When parents live in separate homes, a special challenge is presented in preserving the relationship between children and both parents after divorce or separation. When parents put aside their conflict and work together to find a parenting schedule that works for the whole family, whether it is a 50/50, 60/40 or some other type of plan, everyone usually benefits from the sharing of care. Continue Reading