Divorce is never an easy process; it is often stressful of both of the parents and especially the child. However, with the cooperation of both parents, they are able to make a stressful and traumatizing situation considerably more tolerable. When a divorce settlement involves a child, the courts will determine though child custody laws, which is the best arrangement for custody on behalf of both the parents and the children involved.
However, the parents’ decision made regarding child custody laws can only make so many advances if the relationship between the two parents is not on amicable terms; the judge will grant the parents a type of joint custody or one parent will receive sole custody and the non-custodial parent, visitation rights. Either way, the courts encourage co parenting when appropriate. Just because one parent has sole custody of the child does not mean that the non-custodial parent will have be shut out from the child’s life. Child custody laws do not intend to bar the non-custodial parent from spending time in their child’s life. With the help of a parenting plan, they can continue to live normal lives with healthy interaction between both parents and the child.
In many states, child custody law requires that the parents submit a parenting plan prior to the courts determination of custody. This is done because courts prefer to assign joint custody to both parents instead of sole custody to one. However, it does not always work out that way, and in cases of sole custody, parenting plans are often used also. Requirements for a parenting plan will differ depending on the state, but it is essentially an agreement that separated parents will develop together about how their children will be cared for and supported. If the parents can agree on all the terms for the parenting plan, an agreement can be drawn up between themselves. Coming to an agreement on decision that will affect your child will be beneficial to your child, especially if it saves the chance for arguments and/or misunderstandings.
A parenting plan can include any and all decisions that need to be addressed concerning the child. Obviously if child custody laws determine that one parent should receive sole legal custody of a child, the parenting plan will be much shorter, as most decisions aside from visitation will not concern the non-custodial parent. However, in any other case where child custody laws will determine that both parents will have joint legal custody (which is more common), the plan will be drawn up by both parents. As most parenting plans are not legally binding, changes can be made at any time. The only requirements are that the changes be agreed on by both parents. If parents choose have the parenting plan legally recognized, it must follow certain requirements as to how it is developed. It must be written down, signed and dated by both parents.
Divorce is not easy but with the full cooperation of both parents, it doesn’t have to be hard. Child custody laws are there to guide families through this time with structure and organization. Developing a parenting plan can not only save time and money, it can also ease the stress on a child during this very difficult time.