Every child’s needs are unique. Therefore, there isn’t a single “right” way to structure a parenting plan in the wake of a divorce. Instead, the state of Ohio offers a standard parenting plan template for co-parents to consider when crafting mutually agreeable parenting plan terms.
Of course, not all divorcing parents can see eye-to-eye in this way. In contentious custody cases, each parent will need to work with their attorney to navigate the construction of a parenting plan successfully. However, when co-parents are determined not to leave the structure of their parenting plan up to a judge, there are a few things they’ll want to keep in mind when drafting a mutually-agreeable arrangement.
Parenting plans are legally enforceable documents. As a result, everyone must clearly understand their responsibilities, obligations and any restrictions that must be honored. Clear expectations can also help to ensure that everyone can plan and live their lives without questioning what they are “supposed” to be doing all the time.
Because life is often unpredictable – and because children’s needs evolve over time – it is important to keep terms flexible when doing so is both reasonable and appropriate. Clear expectations are important. But if these expectations are too rigid, they may not be manageable which could create chaos or a need to modify the plan that has just been created.
By understanding how to effectively structure your parenting plan, you’ll be empowered to prevent many of the common tension-filled scenarios that often drive co-parents back into court. You will also likely prevent the need to modify your parenting plan too often, which is nice because modification can be a time-intensive process. In a nutshell? Being proactive now should pay off for your family later.