If you are an unmarried, separated couple expecting a new baby, you may have some concerns involving a parenting plan.
Concerns might be who is going to have primary custody of the baby or how often is the non-custodial parent going to see the baby.
All of this can be worked through and figured out by establishing a parenting plan.
About Your Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is an agreement set up by both parents for how they will take care of a child or children.
Within the plan, different factors need to be decided on ahead of time.
Here are several items you should consider including, or at least discussing with your attorney when drafting a parenting plan:
- Deciding the custodial parent: This can be either one parent or the other, or you can set up joint custody with both parents.
- Visitation Rights & Plans: If there is only one custodial parent, you may need to decide how often the non-custodial parent gets the child. It can be anything that works for your family and has the best interest of the child. An example might be that the custodial parent has the child during the week and the non-custodial parent has the child every other weekend.
- How you will manage significant events: There will be birthday parties. Or maybe the grandparents want your child to spend the night with them. How will this work with your parenting plan? You need to make sure this is figured out now so it will not cause problems later.
- Lock Down Child Support: The parenting plan can be a place to discuss how child support will work. This can be agreed upon both parents ahead of time or may need to be decided by a family court judge.
- Residence: Where the primary residence of the child be? It usually is with whoever has main custody of the child.
- How will expected and unexpected expenses be handled: We already talked about child support, but there may be other expenses such as medical expenses that need to be decided.
- There will be BIG future decisions: Things such as education, healthcare, religious practices, and discipline should also be decided in the parenting plan. This will help decide how these will be taken care of in the future.
- Other things unique to your circumstances: Anything else you may find important for your child such as diet, curfew, seeing extended family, etc. should also be included in your parenting plan.
Why it is Important to Create a Parenting Plan
You and the other parent may be agreeable now, but that may not be the case in the future. Having a parenting plan set up ahead of time will save everyone a lot of stress and arguments later. Get this figured out today, it protects you, it protects your kids, and it protects your sanity.
If you’re hesitant because of a major life change going on right now (like you’re getting divorced…) – this will become your anchor. It is not something to put off to reduce stress. It is something to do today, to reduce stress!
Moreover, it can be flexible an change as your dynamic changes. If there are any major situation changes in the future, it is possible to modify your parenting plan so do not let that be the reason you do not set one up as soon as possible.
Who Can Create a Parenting Plan
You and your child’s other parent can set up a parenting plan on your own as long as you both agree to all conditions. However, you might not be thinking of every possible situation. It is a great idea to reach out to someone with years of experience drafting these plans, modifying these plans, and fully understanding the scope of these parenting plans. In short, you want to talk to a lawyer.
If you need assistance creating a parenting plan or if you have questions, please feel free to contact us.