Divorcing parents must navigate numerous compromises before reaching the end of the marriage. Negotiations surrounding property division, debt division, spousal support and child support can require a significant amount of care and attention. Additionally, developing a comprehensive parenting plan can be a confusing and frustrating process.
A parenting plan is a set of documents designed to help clarify certain issues and reduce potential disputes in the future. Unfortunately, many couples miss some crucial elements of the parenting plan. Here are some common mistakes parents are wise to avoid:
- Failing to discuss custody exchange contingencies: In a perfect world, the child custody exchange will always run smoothly. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for adjustments to be made on the fly. Whether this is due to adverse weather conditions or the changing needs of the child, it is wise to discuss alternate plans.
- Failing to discuss preferred communication methods: Not everyone communicates in the same way. One person might prefer a quick phone call when something of note happens while another person might rather receive an email. Divorcing parents are wise to at least broach the subject regarding their preferred styles.
- Failing to discuss body modifications: Communication will likely occur should this become a reality, but it is wise for parents to lay some sort of groundwork in the parenting plan. As the child grows, he or she might want to express themselves visually. Whether this is through piercings, tattoos or dramatic hair color changes, it is important that parents are on the same page.
- Failing to discuss travel restrictions: A large part of the parenting plan will focus on holiday plans. This can include deciding where the child will spend various holidays. Additionally, parents should discuss any restrictions centering on vacation travel, interstate or international, in the parenting plan.
With so much to focus on, it is easy to become overwhelmed during the divorce process. Parents are wise to take the time necessary to develop a comprehensive parenting plan that accounts for numerous contingencies while remaining flexible enough to change when necessary.