The State of Missouri requires a written parenting plan for all child custody cases, and for good reason. While at first, it may seem like an unpleasant assignment because you’ll need to work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s ultimately beneficial to your children and your future relationship with your children.
Planning now can help both parties avoid discrepancies down the road.
To help to divorce families who are beginning to work on their parenting plan, we’ve compiled 3 tips you should keep in mind to create a successful parenting plan.
Custody & Visitation Schedule
Tip 1: Be honest with yourself and your spouse.
Pride can be a great hindrance in establishing the best parenting plan for your children. It’s not uncommon to see parents who feel that this is a competition or a reflection of their capacity as a parent.
Do you work often, sometimes late into the night? Are you rarely available on weekends because of travel commitments for work? Does your general schedule prevent you from being active in day-to-day activities? If so, consider the effect that your schedule will have on your child or children. Some parents work more to provide financially for the family. By not allowing guilt or pride to drive your decision, you can evaluate your circumstances more clearly. More often than not, there is an ideal compromise that balances both parents’ obligations and desires.
For example You work late to financially support your family, but you really want to commit to spending more time with your children. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to scale back work on certain days, where you can commit to custody, such as on expanded weekends through Monday morning thereby enabling you to spend quality time with your children.
Education, Extracurricular Activities & Healthcare
Tip 2: Gather your children’s insight where appropriate.
Often in divorces, adults neglect communicating with their children. They make major decisions regarding their well-being without taking into account their children’s opinions. Naturally, if your child is a toddler, you will not be able to discuss with them their desires. However, a conversation with older children can go a long way in helping you understand what should be addressed in the parenting plan.
While this isn’t suggesting that you make your decisions solely based upon your children’s wishes, it’s helpful to know what their concerns and hopes are as well, so that you address those in your parenting plan.
For example Your child loves her friends, but is interested in and has shown an aptitude for technology. There’s an academy nearby that’s closer to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s work than yours, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse has expressed interest in exercising custody during the week. This may be an opportunity to strike a compromise that is ultimately in the best interest of the child.
In many cases, parents are wrestling with tough choices that would be made easier by including the children in the conversation.
Tip 3: Lean on your Divorce Attorney for guidance.
This is likely the most challenging portion to complete for divorcing spouses.
If your spouse and you have been exchanging heated words for months, how do you plan for gentle and effective communication in the future?
It is not hopeless. There is a way, and your Divorce Attorney, with their extensive experience, can help you find a solution since they have handled numerous cases like yours and can help you to establish a parenting plan that is concrete and mutually beneficial.
Moreover, your Divorce Attorney is the only person besides your soon-to-be ex-spouse and you (and perhaps their attorney) who knows the in’s and out’s of your concerns. Based on their knowledge, they can best advise a tailored communication guideline to help you in the future.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse and you are unable to negotiate a parenting plan together, you are allowed to submit separate plans which the court will review. The decision will be made by the Judge, who will determine which plan best serves the needs of the children.
To best understand parenting plans in Missouri, you should seek the guidance of an experienced and compassionate St. Louis Divorce Lawyer. With over 30 years of experience serving the areas of Chesterfield, Ballwin, and Wildwood, Missouri, Attorney Jay Galmiche has the knowledge to help you pursue the best results for your family and you. He personally handles your case, giving you the individual attention that you need beginning with your first free initial consultation.