If you are going through a divorce and you and your spouse have children, you may at some point be asked by the court to submit a parenting plan. This typically includes what you would like to see as far as who gets custody of the children and when. It may take into account your work schedule and that of your spouse's as well as a variety of other factors like terms each parent must agree to for overnight stays, special family events or gatherings, and so on. For best results, come up with a parenting plan with your divorce attorney before going to court so you can be prepared for what's ahead.
Your Divorce Attorney Can Help You Fine-Tune Your Suggested Plan to Make It Look Fair to the Court
If the divorce is expected to get ugly, it's understandable if you are emotional about not wanting to spend too much time away from your children. But unless there is a clear reason why you need to seek full custody, your parenting plan will likely look better in the eyes of the court if you work to make it seem fair to both sides. Any one-sided plan is likely to get thrown out and then it'll be up to the court to make its own suggestions and you won't have much control or power at that point. Your attorney has been through this before with other clients and might even know what kinds of things you assigned judge typically looks for in a parenting plan.
Your Divorce Attorney Can Ask You Questions About Scheduling and Special Considerations So You Are Prepared to Answer In Court
After submitting your suggested plan to the court, be prepared to answer questions from the judge. Are you willing to make exceptions on the child's birthday or a special family gathering? What happens if one spouse has to work late? Your lawyer can coach you on what to say before you head to the courtroom.
Don't Negotiate in Private With Your Spouse, Make Sure Your Attorney Is Aware of Any Suggested Changes Every Step of the Way
If the divorce is amicable, there's a chance your spouse could approach you directly to negotiate a change to your suggested parenting plan or even try to co-write one with you. But in general, it's a good idea to make sure your attorney is fully aware of any contestations with your spouse and to let your attorney take the lead in making changes during negotiations.
Contact a local divorce attorney for more advice.
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