When parents go through a divorce, they need to take special care to ensure the well-being of their children. Generally, both parents share in the parenting responsibilities. However, in many cases, the children will reside primarily with one parent and spend time with the other. This is called visitation. Parents need to make important decisions about time-sharing following their divorce.
In Texas, when parents divorce, the judge may order a standard possession order, which defines custody arrangements, visitation, and more. A parenting plan is a helpful part of a divorce. Parents who utilize a detailed parenting plan will enjoy better communication and reduce the incidence of disagreements. An experienced parenting plan lawyer in Brownsville will assist in creating a useful parenting plan.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a legal document that provides details regarding visitation, custody, and access. Parents are encouraged to work together to agree on a parenting plan that both will follow after divorce. The parenting plan should be as detailed as possible so that both parents understand when and how visitation is to take place. It can schedule holidays and vacation time so that both parents share important celebrations with their children through the years. There are standard elements that make up a parenting plan, but you can also include as much detail as necessary.
Benefits of a Parenting Plan
There are several benefits to putting a parenting plan into place. A parenting plan acts as a guide that both parents can use to navigate the co-parenting waters after divorce. A detailed parenting plan is essential to giving your family balance, and it helps to create a new sense of normal. Another benefit of a parenting plan is that it reduces the risk of disagreements while it gives both parents a way to communicate without dispute. A parenting plan can also include how parents should resolve differences if they occur.
What are the Elements of a Parenting Plan?
There are two main parts of a basic parenting plan. These include possession and access and conservatorship. It is helpful to understand these elements before you begin creating your own parenting plan. Possession and access simply refer to physical custody of the child. The visitation rights of each parent are addressed in the plan. A non-custodial parent will have a specific time allotted for visitation. In a standard parenting plan, visitation is typically provided every other weekend. However, a parenting plan can accommodate the exact needs and desires of your family as long as it is agreeable to both parents.
Conservatorship is also sometimes called legal custody of the child. The parenting plan should define which parent has legal custody, which allows the parent to make important decisions regarding such things as education, health care, and religion, to name a few. Most parents have joint legal custody, which means they both have equal ability to make legal decisions regarding their children. In some rare cases, one parent will be the sole conservator.
Texas Family Code
Texas Family Code is a group of laws or statutes that govern family and custody matters. The law provides some requirements that you must include in parenting plans in Texas. A parenting plan must include conservatorship (legal custody) to define the responsibilities of each parent. The plan must include the location of the child’s primary residence. The plan needs to address visitation, including the rights of the parents, visitation times, and access to children outside of regular visitation times. The plan should also include how decisions will be made regarding important life matters for the child.
What to Include in a Parenting Plan
While there are several requirements of a parenting plan, it is helpful to include as much detail as possible in the plan. The more detailed you can make the plan, the more useful it will be as you co-parent following the divorce. Consider specific situations that occur and how you will handle them. For example, schedule the holidays in a way that alternates years. That way, both parents will have fair access to their children during special celebrations. You will also want to schedule summer vacations and other times off from school. Also, detail exactly when and how visitation takes place, including where the child will be picked up and dropped off.
Who Needs a Parenting Plan?
All families can benefit from a well-written parenting plan. The parenting plan will eliminate confusion during the parenting process. It helps to set rules and guidelines that are helpful to everyone in the family, including the children. You will be setting up the new family dynamic and schedule, which will make it comforting to children. Both parents are in agreement with the plan, so there are fewer possibilities for problems to occur. The parenting plan sets forth a good foundation for family communication following divorce.
It is important to note that even parents who are not married may benefit from a parenting plan. It can greatly diminish the complications that often arise from miscommunication. As time goes by, the parenting plan is useful in encouraging good relationships between a parent and child and in ensuring the best interest of the child is always followed.
How to Update a Parenting Plan
There may be times when a parenting plan becomes outdated. This can occur more often when you create a parenting plan when a child is young. As the child gets older, they have different needs, and parents may need to address them in their parenting plan. If you want to modify a parenting plan, you must do so through the court system. Do not try to make verbal changes with the other parent because that can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, determine whether there are significant changes that warrant you to readdress the parenting plan. Both parents will be able to participate in a new parenting plan or updated plan.
If you are divorcing, it is best to spend time creating a parenting plan that will work best for your family for years to come. At Sosa Law, we have experience with parenting plans. Need help making a parenting plan? Call (956) 317-5443 for a free case evaluation today.