What is a parenting plan?

It can be hard to take the step of filing for divorce, especially if you have children. Unfortunately, the stress and challenges you could experience may not end when your divorce is finalized. One way to make your divorce easier on your children is to develop a parenting plan with your spouse.

Understanding What a Parenting Plan Is

Parenting Plan Word Clouds in the Shape of Family MembersA parenting plan is a legal document that helps divorcing parents understand their joint responsibilities in parenting their children. The plan can detail how many issues will be handled in the future, such as custody, visitation, child support, other anticipated expenses, and how to resolve disputes. Having a parenting plan in place when you divorce can make parenting your children go smoother and reduce the costs of divorce and post-divorce proceedings.

What to Consider When Creating a Parenting Plan

You are not required to have a parenting plan in a divorce in Virginia. However, having one will make things easier for you, your kids, and your spouse. You and your partner will need to develop the plan together if you want it to work. Things you should consider when creating a parenting plan include:

  • Your child’s age. Your child’s needs will change as they grow older. There could be additional costs as they go through middle and high school. Their interests and activities could also change over time, which can affect a visitation schedule. It is important to deal with any known future changes and recognize that you may have to change your parenting plan in the future as your child grows older.
  • Where you and your spouse live. When creating your plan, you will also have to consider how far away your partner lives from you. If your spouse lives nearby, you will be able to split up your time with your child more equally. You will have to be more creative about a visitation schedule and how to pay for travel costs if you and your partner live far away from each other.
  • Holidays and special events. You will need to develop a schedule for seeing your child at their birthdays, holidays, and special events so that you and your spouse get an equal amount of time with your child during these important times in their life.
  • Flexibility. You may need to be flexible about changing your parenting plan in the future. It can help to spell out when and how modifications to the plan will be made to avoid disputes and the costs of fighting about the changes in court.

Do you need to file a divorce in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Do you need help creating a parenting plan? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to explain your options and to make your divorce go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.