Charlotte Parenting Plan Attorneys
Creating workable parenting plans for North Carolina co-parents
Not every divorce is terribly contentious and ends in a court battle. In some cases, the divorcing couple is able to mutually work out the details of their split and create a parenting plan that works well for everyone. A parenting plan can settle child custody issues out of court, as long as both parents are willing to work together to create a thorough and detailed document.
The child custody attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC in Charlotte can help you work on a parenting plan for you and your ex-spouse to enter as part of your divorce agreement. Our decades of experience ensure you won’t leave out any important details, and we’ll fight for your rights as a parent.
What do I need to know about creating a parenting plan?
A parenting plan can be as simple or as complex as you and the other parent need it to be. But it must include all the basic information like custody and visitation. Most parents typically include information like alternating holidays, financial responsibilities other than child support, transportation, medical decisions, educational decisions and other life decisions. If you and your co-parent have conflicts while creating a parenting plan, a skilled lawyer can help.
What should I put in my Charlotte parenting plan?
Every family’s needs are different, and every family’s parenting plan will be different. However, consider the following topics:
Custody and visitation
Will one parent have primary physical custody? Will parents have joint custody? What about legal custody? If you choose joint custody, what amount of time will you each spend with your child? It’s important to try to anticipate all scenarios, as once a custody agreement is finalized, you cannot modify an order without going back to court. If you and the other parent cannot agree on child custody arrangements, the court will make the decision.
Where will your children spend the holidays? Typically after a divorce, parents choose to rotate the holidays they spend with their child every year. Other significant dates to think about include birthdays, traditional family gatherings, annual vacations or religious holidays. If you and your ex-spouse live close together, you might choose to split a holiday, like Christmas Eve at one household and Christmas Day at another.
Transportation is often a big issue for parents, whether they’re divorced or not. Who drives whom, where and when? A good parenting plan should outline who’s responsible for transporting kids back and forth from school and extracurricular activities. If your child is old enough or will soon be old enough to drive, you may want to discuss financial responsibilities for their car or insurance. If you and your ex-spouse live far apart, you should also discuss travel details and costs for visitation.
Childcare and education
Do your kids attend daycare or private school? You’ll also need to decide who picks the childcare provider and who pays for it, or if you’ll split the tuition. Some parents also like to set ground rules around who’s permitted to care for the children outside of school hours – grandparents, other family members, trusted babysitters and the like. Many parents also want the option of being the first choice in the event the other parent has last-minute childcare needs.
Health insurance and medical decisions
Ensure your parenting plan has instructions that one parent provide healthcare coverage for the children. Usually, the parent with the most comprehensive and affordable health insurance covers the children. However, you should always have a contingency plan in place should the parent lose their health insurance for any reason. Some parents may agree to share the cost of insurance premiums.
Outside of emergency medical situations, most parents make healthcare decisions about their child together. These decisions can include things like immunizations, mental healthcare, cosmetic procedures and other treatments. Parents of children with special needs may want to get more specific with medical instructions and decisions.
College and savings
Parenting plans can also address how much each parent is expected to contribute to a child’s college education plans. Parents may also outline savings for things like orthodontics, travel or vehicles.
If religion (or lack of religion) is important in your family or child’s life, consider outlining this subject in your parenting plan as well. Deeply religious families may need detailed plans around education and participation. Some parents may not want their children exposed to religion until they are older. Again, every family is different.
Communicating with the kids
It may also be a good idea to lay out terms on how parents and children communicate with each other. Most kids today have cell phones and nearly unlimited access to texting and video chatting. Some kids have limited screen time and calls. If a parent requires restricted or supervised visitation, communication may be limited and those limitations should be set out as well.
Consider how you want your child maintaining relationships with other family members, including stepsiblings, grandparents, cousins and other close family members. Many parents also set rules about how they may introduce new dating partners to their children.
Creating a parenting plan that works
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when putting together a parenting plan that works for everyone. However, when two parents can put their differences aside and create a detailed and thorough plan, they can avoid having the court decide their parenting plan for them. Even if you and your co-parent are having challenges communicating, our child custody attorneys can work with a mediator to help you achieve your goals.
Experienced Charlotte child custody lawyers
The family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC understand there’s no magic formula to creating the perfect parenting plan. Our years of experience have taught us every family is different, and we’ll work with you to design an arrangement that’s mutually agreeable for everyone. Let us know how we can help you. Our offices are just minutes off the NC-16. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.