The parenting plan can quickly become a cumbersome document filled with contingencies and strategies to reduce friction and conflict. When negotiating parenting time and other complex divorce matters, a couple will often focus on the large issues while overlooking certain fine details. While every divorce is unique, there are some common mistakes that parents can avoid by remembering to include a few critical provisions in the document.
Three elements of the parenting plan that are often ignored or taken for granted include the following:
- An alternate exchange schedule: Indiana residents are no strangers to poor weather. From torrential downpours in the spring to several inches of snow falling in the winter, divorced parents should include suggestions for or provisions regarding alternate custody exchanges. Whether this means setting an alternate time based on weather patterns or an alternate location, parents are well-advised to include some sort of language geared toward avoiding last-minute decisions.
- Provisions for vacations: While mindsets might change over time, some parents could have strong feelings regarding out of state or international vacations. The parenting plan is a great place to specify these objections on a legal document. At the very least, it is a place where individuals can include instructions that all international vacations must be approved by both parents, for example.
- Communication preferences: It is wise to acknowledge that different people have different preferred methods of communication. From email and text to phone calls and in-person conversations, the parenting plan is a good way to note preferences and any communication that is past the boundaries of an individual’s comfort zone.
While many divorcing couples treat the parenting plan as a way to determine where and when the custody exchange will happen, the document fills a larger role than that. It would be impossible to account for every contingency possible, but drafting a comprehensive parenting plan can help overcome obstacles and prevent future disputes.