Parenting plans will soon arrive in Maryland. These written agreements establish how divorcing couples will work together to care for their children. But how detailed should they be?
At the very least, they should cover the following six topics:
- Parental responsibility and decision-making authority on topics such as education, medical issues, and more.
- Parenting time, including a normalized weekly schedule, as well as holidays, special days, and all other aspects of child access.
- Transportation and exchanges of the children between each other, to and from activities, school, and medical appointments.
- Communication between the parties and children – including how to communicate, how often to communicate, and how the children are impacted by communication.
- Child care. This could include formal child care through a third party provider, the schools as a child care provider, the right of first refusal when an “on duty” parent is unable to care for the children, and myriad additional issues.
- Other issues, such as names the children use to refer to stepparents or other adults, circumstances requiring parental consent (e.g., driving, marriage, military service, employment), restrictions on what the children are exposed to (e.g., types of entertainment, firearms, all-terrain vehicles, etc.), and how the children are to be disciplined.
Future blogs will explore these six parenting plan components, and associated questions, including:
- What do parenting plans include?
- What should they include?
- What do they fail to include?
- What process creates a parenting plan?
- Do parenting plans have to involve a court process or can we create our own?
- Do I need to meet with a family law attorney before considering a parenting plan?
Make no mistake about it: parenting plans can help your family move forward. But there are pitfalls, the largest being allowing someone else – such as a judge — to set the terms for your family.
All parents want to protect their relationships with their children. The attorneys at SIEGELLAW diligently strive to help our clients pursue this goal, no matter how challenging the circumstances. Fill out the form to request additional information, or call us today at 410-792-2300.