One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce for Tennessee families is determining how custody and visitation should work. During an emotionally challenging time, it can be complicated to make reasonable decisions that benefit the children and preserve relationships between two people who will have to co-parent. It could be vital for your family to carefully consider how to make your parenting plan workable and sustainable for the future.
Many parents wish to keep their divorce out of court and work out the terms of their parenting plan through negotiations and discussions. This can lead to better agreements, but you would be wise not to allow emotions to drive your decision-making during this process. A parenting plan will affect you and your kids for years to come, and a thoughtful approach benefits everyone.
The elements of a strong parenting plan
No two parenting plans are the same. Your plan should be congruent with the needs and goals of you, your children and the other parent. When the well-being of everyone is an objective in the drafting of a parenting plan, it works better.
It is beneficial to include and outline all factors that pertain to your children in your plan. This clarifies parental responsibilities and rights and reduces the chances of conflict in the future. Some of the things you may want to have in your plan include:
- Living arrangements and physical custody
- Legal custody, which gives one or both parents the right to make major decisions for the child
- Visitation schedules, including summer vacations, holidays and more
- How children will see, talk to and visit with third parties, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles
- Outline for dealing with future disputes between the parents
While a couple certainly has the right to draft a parenting plan according to their needs and the best interests of their unique children, all agreements are still subject to approval from the court before they are legally enforceable.
Shielding your parental rights
Even though the end of a marriage is a complex, difficult time, this does not mean that it is impossible for two soon-to-be ex-spouses to work together on an agreement that is sustainable and strong. You may work with the other parent on a plan, but you will find it beneficial to seek guidance on ways that you can protect your parental rights and shield your kids from unnecessary distress and complications.