Divorce hurts the hearts of the entire family. While you and your spouse are weighed down by the end of your era, your children are likely still reconciling what life will be like having divorced parents. They’re hurting, confused, and may even blame it on themselves. To clear their confusion and maintain the routines they’re accustomed to, a bulletproof parenting plan can help–but where do you begin?
By following these steps and working with an Orange County divorce mediator to build out your parenting plan, you can ensure your child’s best interests are cared for. Get our tips for crafting an airtight parenting plan, and contact the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens to mediate the toughest parts of your marital agreements.
Recognize Your Child’s Best Interests
An airtight parenting plan is one that holds your child’s best interests above all else. These would include the most critical aspects of their lives, including both physical and emotional needs, as well as decisions pertaining to education and healthcare. You may already know your child’s best interests, but thoroughly reconsidering them will help to create a blueprint for your broader parenting plan.
If your spouse wants the kids to attend public school, but you’d rather them go to a private institution, try asking your kids what they want for themselves. You may want to move the children over to another pediatrician, but they love Dr. Smith and don’t want to change doctors. In essence, it’s not about having it “your way.” Here are some considerations to make when drafting your parenting plan according to the kid’s best interests:
- Distance between parents’ homes
- Differing work schedules for each parent
- Distance from homes to their school, activities, and friends
- Physical needs: shelter, food, clothing, mobility, exercise, healthcare, etc.
- Emotional needs: staying mentally healthy, maintaining relationships between parents, handling behavioral changes, etc.
Determine an Agreeable Parenting Schedule
Your parenting schedule is a foundational aspect of your overall parenting plan. It dictates your family’s new routine and cements an idea of how much time you and your co-parent will spend with your children. The main goal here is to find a schedule that suits your family, and then stick with it.
In Orange County, most family courts will recommend a 50/50 time split. While there are many ways to structure a parenting schedule that fits your family’s routine, co-parents typically get equal time with their child. At this point, it’s more so about figuring out which days work best according to your work schedules and other obligations. Family vacations and splitting holiday time can also bring up conflicts, but if you draft a parenting plan with a trusted Orange County divorce mediator, these potential issues can be forecasted and prevented.
Plan for Unforeseen Events & Legal Custody
Major life decisions that impact your children should be planned for in advance. If you’re sharing legal custody with your co-parent, be sure to draft a plan for how you’ll navigate these turning points together.
Decisions about your children’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and other cultural influences will likely be confronted over time. However, larger life pivots such as a new job in another state, remarrying, and others require ample preparation. So, document your initial decisions in your parenting plan and decide your communication plan for when these moments arise.
It also helps to have a plan for when important decisions need to be made urgently due to an emergency. While it hurts to even think about your children in harm’s way, it’s always better to prepare for the worst rather than waiting to respond.
Settling on a parenting plan isn’t always easy. Oftentimes, some areas are easy to agree on, while others are highly contentious. If you and your spouse require mediation services to settle on certain areas of your parenting plan, an Orange County divorce mediator can guide those discussions toward mutual agreements.
Consult an Orange County Divorce Mediator
Through divorce mediation, you and your co-parent can establish a parenting plan that’s prepared for anything. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. No matter your desired path – mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will help you achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services, or contact us online for a free consultation.