Sometimes, couples can break up with few, if any, conflicts and may resolve those conflicts quickly so they can move on with their separate lives. When children are involved, however, this scenario is much less likely. Each parent often thinks he or she knows what is best for the children, and certainly, both parents may want as much time with the children as possible.
It may take some time to hammer out a mutually agreeable parenting plan, but even then, parents may experience glitches and disputes when applying it to real life. This may be especially true if the plan overlooks certain details that may quickly turn into a battleground. If you are preparing to work out a custody plan with the other parent of your children, there are a few things you will want to include to minimize future conflicts.
Is your plan complete?
You may be forward-thinking enough to include a schedule for holidays in your parenting plan. Often, this involves trading holidays and alternating years for the big celebrations. However, what happens when family events arise that are not part of your plan? How will you handle a scheduling conflict involving weddings or funerals for extended family? These are only a few of the many contingencies you may want to consider. Others include the following:
- How will you handle daily conflicts in separate homes, such as screen time, homework, food choices, chores and bedtime?
- Will each parent be responsible for the separate clothing, toys and other essentials for the children, or will the children carry these items between the homes?
- How will you handle extracurricular activities your child wants to participate in when they conflict with the other parent’s scheduled time with the kids?
- What happens when the child or parent is ill on the day of a custody switch?
- Will your agreement allow for either of you to have a new romantic interest in the home during your custody time?
Additionally, it is wise to include a first-refusal clause in your plan. This means that, if one of you has the children and has a scheduling conflict, such as a meeting at work or an appointment, you must first offer the other parent the chance to watch the children before you call a grandparent, neighbor or babysitter.
Of course, your situation may have its own unique contingencies to consider. You may learn of other important details to include in your parenting plan when you discuss your situation with a skilled Texas attorney.