The stress of the divorce process often overwhelms divorcing parents. From property division and the division of debt responsibility to determining support, the divorce process is layered in complexity. For parents, though, the development of an effective parenting plan can quickly become a challenging process.
While every situation is different, divorcing parents must not forget to discuss numerous factors when drafting the parenting plan. Failure to broach the subject could lead to problems in the future. Some things to remember can include:
- Alternate custody exchange locations: While some parents choose to deliver the children to each other’s homes, some parents choose to complete the child custody exchange at a more neutral location. This could be a mall, department store, food court or public park. Whatever the case may be, it is wise to have alternate plans that can account for bad weather, traffic jams or personal matters. At the very least, set some expectations regarding a potential change in the plan itself.
- Preferred communication methods: No matter how the marriage ended, divorce parents often struggle with productive communication. It is wise to discuss preferred communication methods such as email, text, phone call or in-person visits to ensure information or concerns are properly communicated from one individual to the other.
- Disciplinary action: It will be impossible for the divorcing parents to anticipate every scenario and the possible consequences. However, they should come to an agreement regarding some factors such as how these consequences are communicated, what could be unacceptable and the fact that the punishment will be carried out in both households.
- Vacations: Again, the parenting plan is not an all-encompassing document that covers every eventuality. However, the parents can use this document to lay groundwork for the future. If one parent, for example, objects to an international vacation, he or she should discuss it as early as possible to prevent future disputes.
Divorcing parents will likely find numerous elements of the process confusing and frustrating. Even though they will never anticipate every disagreement and avoid it in writing, it is important to include certain agreements in the document.