Parenting Plans: Three Essential Tips for Making a Legal Agreement

If your marital relationship has broken down, you should prioritise the care of your children. In general, there are two options to consider when dealing with the care of minors following separation and divorce. The most drastic is applying to the court for a parenting order. This process involves asking the court to make decisions for parenting arrangements on your behalf. The order is binding and enforceable.

However, it is not advisable to choose this option except as a last resort. If possible, you should choose the alternative which allows the co-parents to develop a parenting plan. This will afford you more flexibility, and you can customise the agreement to match your distinctive lifestyles. Moreover, you can take the children's preferences into account during the planning process. Here are some tips for creating a good parenting plan.

Think about the Details

There are numerous practical issues that you must consider when developing a parenting plan. You must make certain that all the critical aspects of the child's life are handled. Oversights will lead to disagreements and disputes in the future. You should begin with the most basic matter of the living arrangements. It is important to determine where the children will live and for what period.

You must think about where each parent is located, the transportation method and the costs. If there are limiting factors, regular communication must be organised. The child's educational, religious and social life should also be considered. Additionally, it is prudent to plan for contact with extended family. Remember to prepare for the changes which might occur as the children grow.

Consider Dispute Resolution

It is unlikely that you and your co-parent will agree on all the pertinent issues during the creation of a parenting plan. Therefore, you should think about looking into dispute resolution. For instance, you can engage a qualified mediator to help you get through some of the difficult matters involved in the agreement. A mediator will minimise the risk of the process failing. Moreover, they could facilitate a more amicable separation.

Apply for a Consent Order

Parenting plans or agreements are not enforceable or binding in their basic state. In simple terms, when the plan is completed, you and your co-parent will sign it. However, its power will depend on the parties' honour. If you would like to make the agreement legally binding, you should apply for a consent court order based on your plan. The application will formalise the contract. For the best outcome, consult a family lawyer. 

Reach out to a family lawyer today for more information.