When a child’s parents separate or divorce, it’s often difficult to figure out exactly how their co-parenting arrangement will work. How will the schedule that dictates at which house a child will sleep each night be constructed? How will holidays and special occasions be managed? How will the child get from one house to the other and who will be responsible for transportation-related costs? These are all issues that are generally addressed within the body of a parenting plan.
A parenting plan is a child custody resource that co-parents use to define the terms of their co-parenting arrangements in a legally-enforceable way. The state of Maryland requires that a parenting plan be submitted to the court as part of any child custody case that has been filed.
Constructing a workable parenting agreement
If you and your child’s other parent can’t agree on the terms of a parenting arrangement, you’ll be forced to have a judge resolve your differences. This isn’t usually an ideal approach, as no one likes to have their own fate (or their child’s) left to another’s judgment.
If possible, you and your child’s other parent will want to draw up a mutually-agreeable proposal and have that proposal reviewed by your attorneys. That way, you’ll be empowered to set the terms of your arrangement in ways that both of you can feel confident about. Keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of your brainstorming process, as any judge who is called upon to resolve a dispute will assess your differences according to the “best interests of the child” standard.
It’s important to think critically about how flexible you’ll need to be to make your parenting plan truly workable before constructing one. A parenting plan is a legally-enforceable document. Therefore, you’ll want to anticipate any challenges that could arise within your co-parenting relationship to better safeguard your child’s legal rights and wellbeing as well as your own.