Important Factors to Consider when Creating a Co-Parenting Plan
Divorce is a complicated and sometimes messy process, but it becomes even more taxing when children are involved. Not only do parents have to figure out how to split time with children between two households in a way that makes sense for everyone involved, but you’ll also have to draft a co-parenting plan concerning how to raise your children. Here are a few things to consider when creating a co-parenting plan.
Refer to the Michigan Parenting Time Guideline
This handy tool was created by a committee of professionals, including the State Court Administrative Office staff, members of the Friend of the Court Bureau, and mental health workers, and it offers guidance specifically for creating schedules for parenting time, as well as co-parenting plans. If you want to know elements required in a parenting plan in Michigan, this reference guide spells them out for you.
Act in the Best Interests of Children
This is a fairly broad directive, but it should be at the core of every decision parents make when it comes to co-parenting. You must consider the physical, mental, and emotional needs of children to determine how best to care for them.
Still, co-parenting can be tricky. If parents observe different religions, they may have very different ideas about spiritual guidance. You may not agree on whether to send kids to public or private school, or which school district is better (if parents reside in different districts following divorce). You might not agree on what age kids can have cell phones, when they can start dating, or how late their curfew should be set.
A parenting plan may also include elements pertaining to a custody agreement and parenting time. If you can come to a fair agreement that is in the best interests of children, the court will certainly consider it, but you should be aware that in instances of child custody disputes, the court has the final say.
Don’t Involve Children in Communications
Kids of a certain age may have preferences when it comes to which parent they want to live with, and courts may take this into account when determining custody. However, when it comes to a co-parenting plan, which determines how both parents will work together to make harmonious and beneficial decisions about how to raise children, the kids should not be involved in the process.
Consistency is important, so parents need to decide on how they will handle certain situations uniformly, so as not to confuse kids or cause conflict. If you make a decision, for example, that curfew for a teen is 10pm on a weekend, both parties need to stick to the program and enforce this rule. This creates stability that kids need, in order to avoid confusion and anxiety.
If problems arise, consult with the other parent, rather than negotiating with children and cutting the other parent out of discussions. Then you can present a unified front when you relay your decisions to your children.
If you’re trying to determine child custody following a Michigan divorce and you need help creating a co-parenting plan, contact the experienced attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 or online to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
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