The dissolution of a marriage can be quite a stressful process, more so if there are young children involved. If you and your former spouse are looking for a solution that would make it easier to discern what your individual responsibilities will be regarding the children, you may want to consider a parenting plan, unless the court orders otherwise. A parenting plan is a set of guidelines that functions to provide a blueprint on how to raise your kids separately without the intervention of the court. Here are some of the things that you need to know about a parenting plan.
What is included in a parenting plan?
The first thing to note about a parenting plan is that it is supposed to serve as an agreement between the spouses. Hence, it can only come to fruition if it meets the expectations of both parties involved in the separation. Overall, there are no set criteria on what you can include in your parenting plan as each plan is based on individual couples. Nonetheless, some of the common factors that come into play include where the children should go to school, where the kids will spend their holidays, who should have physical custody and more. The more explicit you are with your parenting plan, the less chance there is of disagreements once it is put in place.
Would a parenting plan be considered a legal document?
Although parenting plans function to ease the separation process, they are not a legally binding document, unlike a parenting order, which is formed by a court. However, you can refer to your parenting plan as a basis for any future legally binding documentation, as it will prove that you and your spouse had tried to come to an agreement on how best to raise your kids when separated. If one of the parents reneges on their part, the other spouse could present the parenting agreement as part of evidence during court proceedings. Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that the court might only take the agreement under advisement, as it is not binding.
What is excluded from a parenting plan?
A common assumption made about parenting plans is that they will stipulate the financial expectations of each parent when it comes to raising the children separately. The reality is that the parenting plan only serves to ensure that the needs of the children are met and leaves out financial maintenance expectations because money matters are to be agreed upon by the individual spouses. Thus, you may have a parenting plan but may still have to seek child support through the courts.
Contact a family law solicitor for more information about parenting plans and other related things.