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What Divorcing Couples Should Know about Parenting Plans and Orders

parenting plans

Divorce doesn’t end in the estrangement of the couple. Especially if you have children, there are a few more things you must take care of after divorce has been served. For instance, division of assets and debts as well as parental rights to your children must be settled immediately. Like divorce, your rights as parents can be settled in court, too, but as for your parenting plan, that’s something you can settle between the two of you privately and informally.    

Understanding Parenting Plan

Before you decided to file for a divorce, you should have anticipated how this may affect your children, not just emotionally but fiscally as well. The purpose of a parenting plan is to reduce as much of the impact of the divorce on your children as possible. This is the stage where you and your previous spouse make an informal agreement that determines how you will continue to support and care for your children when you are no longer together.

Instead of having the agreement done verbally, it is much safer and more effective to write it down into a plan with the aid of a law firm specialising in family law, such as Lapointe Family Law. That will prevent either party from avoiding or failing to meet the agreement.  

The Importance of Cooperation

The tension that entails divorce usually takes long to subside, but remember that your children’s future is at stake here so there’s no time to dilly-dally. Your only choice as parents is to cooperate at least in this aspect of the whole separation process. You owe it to your children to remain as responsible parents even if you are no longer together. Making a good parenting plan can help your children adjust quickly and grow up normally. 

Additionally, most parenting plans done verbally because the parents don’t want to interact with each other usually end in disagreements, which eventually lead to lengthy and costly court battles. Depending on how both you and the other party are taking the situation, there’s a considerable likelihood that you won’t reach an agreement. This is where outside sources such as a family lawyer come in to help you out. 

What Is Included in a Parenting Plan

At the heart of a parenting plan is your children’s welfare. Every condition and provision the plan contains should solely be for that purpose, so even if you find some of them hard to accomplish, it is crucial that you do.

A parenting plan normally identifies the parent with whom the child will live. It also includes a parenting time schedule that shows when each parent has the child as well as what time the child will spend with other people (grandparents, siblings, other relatives). Arrangements for holidays, birthdays, school breaks, and other special occasions must be included, too, as this can be problematic. Of course, it’s important that both you and the other party must agree on how you will provide for your child. 

It’s to be expected that a parenting plan won’t have information about how you will divide your assets. A different agreement, called property settlement, is required for that matter. Both, however, are necessary to resolve all issues arising from divorce. Like property settlement, a parenting plan can be legally enforceable if both parties agree to submit it to the Family Court.