How Do You Put Together A Reasonable Parenting Plan?

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Are you in the middle of a divorce and trying to put together a reasonable parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex? Hi, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm. And today, we’re going to talk about some common mistakes in parenting plans that I see all the time.

First, I’m going to tell you what a parenting plan is. A parenting plan is a document that lays out the rights and responsibilities of the parents towards their children and for their children. And it’s a document that’s filed with a court in the event of a divorce, or it can be filed in the event of a breakup of a relationship when two people aren’t married, but do have minor children. Parenting plans contain a lot of information about how the children are going to be raised. And one of the big pieces is who makes the big decisions. Big decisions in the eyes of the court are medical decisions, religious decisions, and educational decisions. In the vast majority of these parenting plans, there’s joint decision making, but in a few, there are sole decision making.

One of the common mistakes in parenting plans that I see here in Colorado is rigidly equalizing summer parenting time. It’s almost never a good idea. No matter what age the child, but certainly as the child gets older. You want a child to be able to go to summer camps or spend time with friends on special occasions, or play athletics, be on an athletic team for the summer. So don’t be so rigid in your schedule that you’re not taking into account what your child wants. The other thing that I see regarding summer parenting time anyway is when parties will schedule the summer, entire summer for one parent, from the day school gets out to the day school starts. It’s just always a bad idea. Plus, it doesn’t give the other parent a chance to go on vacation with a child during the summer. So most of the time, I see that as a an unreasonable way to have parenting time.

A second common mistake that I see in parenting plans here in Colorado is when holidays are scheduled around the adult’s wishes instead of the children’s wishes. For example, I’ve seen parenting plans over Christmas, which are ridiculous, where at nine AM sharp, dad is gonna come and pick up the child on Christmas Day. Well, what if that child wants to hang out, play with his or her toys, and just have a relaxing Christmas morning? Please don’t schedule a parenting a time exchange in the middle of Christmas morning. If you have a child, it’s silly. A third common mistake in parenting plans is to have a schedule that is so rigid, you don’t take into account that your children have friends and need to spend time with those friends. So try to let go a little bit. You’re certainly going to be forced to as your children grow older and want to spend more and more time with their friends. It can be kind of heartbreaking, but it’s just part of the natural cycle. I don’t have children, but I’ve experienced it firsthand with my cats as they grew from kittens, grew more independent. And now they’re completely indifferent to me, to my husband, to what we do for them. They don’t care, and we hardly ever see them because they’re hanging out with their friends. So remember, you have to let your children go. It’s just part of the natural cycle and let them spend time with their friends.

If you’re still here, I bet you have more questions about parenting plans, whether it’s putting it together correctly or modifying it once it’s already an order of the court. If you do give us a call here at The Drake Law Firm. We’re standing by, and our experienced attorneys will help you solve the riddle of parenting plans.

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