If you have kids and you’re planning a divorce, then you should be prepared to create a parenting plan. A parenting plan is an agreement you have with your spouse about the rights and responsibilities to parent and visit your children. When you discuss your child custody arrangement, you and your spouse will have to decide on legal and physical custody.
Legal custody involves the right to make any decisions regarding your child’s upbringing. You may include, for example, where your child goes to school, if your child attends any religious events, who attends your child’s doctor appointments, if you see them on holidays and who’s responsible to transport your child during visitation hours. While physical custody decides where your child lives the majority of the time.
Parents, typically, discuss these matters together until each parent agrees to a plan. But, you may not agree to the custody arrangement. What happens now? Here’s what you should know:
If you can’t agree, you may need to litigate
Perhaps, you and your spouse may have different opinions of the parenting plan. Say, for example, you want your child to attend church and you want them on Christmas and Easter and your spouse would rather your child doesn’t have a religious upbringing. Or, you think it’s best if you see your child every other week and your spouse wants to see them every third day.
If you can’t come to an agreement, you may have to litigate, which means putting the issue before the court and letting the judge decide. Typically, the court will consider the best interests of children. This is unlikely to be customized to your family’s needs, however, which is why it’s often better to work out a compromise.
When custody discussions aren’t going well, it’s wise to take steps to protect your parent-child relationship.