Preparing a parenting plan is one of the most important parts of a custody hearing after or during a divorce. Experienced divorce lawyers in Houston, TX will be able to answer any questions you may have about forming and filing this plan. There’s also plenty of information detailed below that may have some of the answers you’re looking for.
Ask Divorce Lawyers in Houston, TX: What Should Be in the Parenting Plan?
It would be a good idea to go over the guidelines of a Texas parenting plan before you sit down and create one. Your Houston child custody lawyer will also be able to help you determine what kind of information should be in your plan.
Some of the things you should consider when forming your parenting plan include:
- Child support
- What role each parent will take (such as managing conservator and possessory conservator)
- How you’ll divide parenting responsibilities
- A schedule for possession and access
- How you’ll pay for dental and medical costs
- Provisions to ensure minimal disruption of your child’s routine and education
What Kind of Mistakes Should Be Avoided When Forming a Parenting Plan?
The judge awards custody based on the best interests of your child. Therefore, you should always display that you have the best interests of your child in mind when forming your plan. If the judge deems that you’re putting your best interests ahead of your child’s, then it won’t look good for your parenting plan.
There are certain things you should most definitely not forget to put in your plan, too, and leaving them out is a major mistake. Never forget to include:
- Guidelines for who’s paying for your child’s medical/dental care
- Information regarding what will happen if one of the parents relocates
- Provisions regarding how you’ll handle parenting disagreements
- Information on whether or not each parent can travel with the child (such as on vacations)
What Happens If One Parent Refuses to Contribute to Making the Parenting Plan?
It’s always best if both parents work together to create a parenting plan you both agree on. However, if you and the other parent can’t work together, then you can create separate plans for the judge to assess. If the other parent refuses to create a plan, then you can submit your plan on its own.
The judge will carefully consider every point in your parenting plan. The following factors can influence whether or not the judge decides to agree with your plan:
- The age and maturity level of your children
- Whether or not each parent plans to relocate
- The custody preferences of each parent
- The custody preferences of the child (in some cases)
- Any misconduct or legal trouble each parent has been involved in
- The emotional, physical, and mental health of each parent
- Each parent’s financial situation
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Create a Parenting Plan?
You can create a parenting plan on your own, but it will be far easier for you to create this plan if you have the help of a lawyer. Your divorce attorney can answer any questions that arise during the planning process, and they can point out any areas you’ve neglected to cover in the plan. Running your plan past your attorney first gives you a much bigger chance of the judge approving it.
Can My Child Help Me Create the Parenting Plan?
Your child can certainly make their preferences known. It’s up to you whether or not you implement your child’s preferences and requests into your parenting plan. it would be a good idea to take all the child’s wishes into account regarding certain aspects of your plan. You can even note the child’s wishes in the plan directly if you wish.
How Do I File a Parenting Plan?
The beauty of working with an attorney is that you don’t have to deal with filing on your own. Your attorney can provide you with step-by-step instructions on what you have to do once you’ve created your plan. If you’re confused during the proceedings at any time, then your attorney can explain the processes in as much detail as you need them to.
Does the Judge Prefer a Parenting Plan That Has Been Created by Both Parents?
It’s generally easier for the judge to keep everybody happy if you and your co-parent provide a plan that both of you have worked on and are happy with. It’s also less time-consuming to submit a single plan rather than two separate ones.
Creating a parenting plan is an understandably daunting task, but it will be much easier if you consult your attorney beforehand. Your attorney can help you stay on top of all the information that should be in the plan. They will also review it for you before you have to file it and leave all the decisions in the hands of the judge.