A divorcing couple must navigate numerous challenges through the legal process. Whether these negotiations center on financial matters or visitation, the couple must reach several compromises on the path toward their independent futures.
Unfortunately, in their haste to reach a successful resolution, they might miss certain elements when drafting the parenting plan, including:
- Failing to include alternative holiday solutions: The divorcing couple might take care to decide on alternating holidays but that might not always be the best solution. The parents could split up the holiday vacations a number of different ways or leave instructions regarding alterations in the future. Rather than simply settling on the first division and moving on, it pays to consider all options before lighting on one.
- Failing to include alternate custody exchange locations: Whether it is due to bad weather, illness or other factors, the parents should include a list of alternate locations or at least a mechanism to discuss them in the future. Some parents might choose a neutral location or simply the home of the custodial parent. No matter the situation, it is wise to leave language addressing a potential change in the parenting plan.
- Failing to discuss screen time: As technology improves, children will likely spend more and more time tied to their screens. While this historically meant television and video games, it now includes phones, tablets and computers. Parents are wise to include some level of agreement or at least a method of discussing it in the future to ensure they are on the same page.
It is important to remember that the parenting plan, no matter how comprehensive, will never be complete. The needs of the family unit and the needs of the children will likely change over time. Fortunately, the parents can adjust and revise the document whenever necessary. It is crucial, however, that the parents follow the legal process rather than simply verbally agreeing to revisions. In this way, the changes are official and can be enforced if one party fails to adhere to their obligations.