The Best Interest of the Child: Creating an Appropriate Parenting Plan in Texas
A parenting plan is an agreement you make with the other parent regarding your children’s upbringing and schedule. An effective parenting plan creates a schedule that allows each parent to enjoy quality time with the children, establishes decision-making authority and provides stability and consistency for your children. When negotiating a parenting plan, the overriding question should be, what is in your child’s best interests? Check out the following information from our Dallas child custody attorney for drafting a successful parenting plan.
Daily Parenting Schedule
Your children now live in two separate households. You can make the transition from one to the other less stressful, on them and you, by establishing a consistent schedule. The day-to-day parenting schedule should account for your children’s education, extracurricular activities, time with parents, time with other family members and other considerations relevant to a child’s daily activities. Although templates for Texas parenting plans exist, you should adopt a plan tailored to your children’s unique needs.
Solving the Vacation/Holiday Dilemma
Special provisions should be made for holidays and vacation periods. Often parents alternate years and holidays. For example, you might get the children for Thanksgiving during even years and Christmas during odd years. In multi-faith families, you might take the children for Hanukkah and Passover celebrations and the other parent might get Christmas and Easter days. Generally, parents may each take their own birthday and Father’s or Mother’s Day as appropriate. School year vacations are also often alternated between odd and even years and summer vacations split between each parents’ home. However, you manage the holiday schedule, focus on allowing your children to enjoy these important developmental, cultural and family opportunities.
Who Will Make the Decisions?
Ideally, parents should come to an agreement on major issues concerning your children’s upbringing. However, you may not agree with every single matter. In the end, one of you should carry the final decision-making authority. This does not mean one parent has autonomy to make unilateral decisions across the board. The decision-maker should be prepared to discuss major decisions and notify the other parent about important developments.
Our Dallas Child Custody Attorney Notes That Consistency and Flexibility Are Key
Both parents should be prepared to adhere to the parenting plan. This is not only better for all parties, but is also your legal obligation. However, your children benefit if both parents are flexible when unexpected circumstances or opportunities arise. For example, a parent who is generally consistent should be given leeway for an occasional late drop-off. Likewise, if a wedding, family reunion or other special occasion falls on the week you were supposed to have your children, switching weeks gives your child the opportunity to attend an important function.
What If There’s a Problem? A Dallas Child Custody Attorney Can Help
Changes in your child’s, your spouse’s or your situation may require you to revisit terms of your parenting agreement. Generally, a schedule that was perfect for your toddler may not work for your teen. There also may be challenges and disagreements that arise from time to time. You know your child best, much better than a judge. Therefore, resolving conflicts with the other parent whenever possible generally leads to better results.
A Dallas child custody attorney can help you negotiate a successful parenting agreement and resolve conflicts that may arise with the other parent. For more information on parenting agreements, call an attorney today at (214) 977-9050.