What You Need To Know About Considerations in Preparing Your Parenting Plan

Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today we will be discussing considerations in preparing your parenting plan in Maryland.

What is a parenting plan?

Parenting plan is the proposal you make regarding how you plan to care for your children moving forward. It will likely include transition locations, access schedules, the right to certain information, the right to access backup plans, and any alternative dispute resolution if you and your co-parent are unable to agree on certain issues.

Children’s Ages

When preparing a parenting plan, it’s important to consider your children’s ages. Some children are very young and the type of schedule that they may be able to tolerate might be completely different from what an active 16 or 17 year old might be willing to go with. You may need a more robust schedule for younger children. You may need a more flexible schedule for older children, and this is something that you need to take into consideration when developing your parenting plan. When preparing your parenting plan, you want to consider what is going to be the status quo schedule for your family and your child. This may be based upon the school’s calendar for your children, or it may just be based on if your child is not in school, just a regular calendar in the work calendar for the parents.

Normal Schedule

When developing your normal schedule, the normal schedule may be based on any number of things that will be consistent when dealing with your children. you may base the normal schedule around the child’s academic calendar. You may base it around a sports calendar. You may base it around the fact that a parent may have the type of work schedule where they’re in the state or out of the state for extended periods of time. You just want to make sure that what is your common routine schedule for your child and your family.

Holiday Schedule

Typically, a holiday or break schedule will supersede the normal. For example, if your child has summer break the schedule, they may have during the school year may not fit your family’s needs. The holidays can be divided up into any number of ways depending on what holidays your family celebrates and what holidays you want to spend with your children. It’s important to know how you want to proceed on those issues so that when it comes to having a court order, those issues are likely to be addressed and you know what you want to do.

Definitions are your Friend

In my opinion, I like to define, define, define. When it comes to holidays or breaks or even a normal schedule you want to be very explicit about how you’re defining a certain holiday. For example, when it comes to Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is the third Sunday of every may. You can define Mother’s Day as the third Sunday every May from a certain time on that day to another time on that day, or you could ultimately define it based on the entire weekend. If it’s May and school’s not in session you may even be able to find it based on that whole week before the holiday itself or after the holiday itself. Defining what you want is crucial so that you both know the parameters of that actual day so that you know when to pick your child up and when to receive your child without any conflict or confusion.

Solutions for when you do not Agree with your Co-Parent

When developing a parenting plan, it’s important to come up with ways to reach a resolution in the event you and your co-parent are no longer able to communicate effectively. What that means is you may include a clause in the agreement that requires you both to go to a mediator. You may include a clause for you both to go and speak with a parent coordinator. You may include a clause that if you both disagree on a certain issue you both will go speak with a medical professional regarding that issue and whatever that medical professional recommends is what you will agree to do regardless of whether you agree with it or not. There are lots of different ways that you can get these issues or likely future conflicts addressed so that you both aren’t stuck with we don’t agree, let’s just go to court.

If you have any questions about preparing your parenting plan in Maryland or any other custody related concerns, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.