Some parents trying to negotiate an uncontested divorce are so eager to get the process over with that they fail to address certain important matters before finalizing their agreements, including custody orders and parenting plans.
Custody orders often include rules regarding the division of parenting time and the authority to make decisions regarding the children. Parenting plans can go into far greater detail, discussing everything from the plan to share the holidays to rules for how the parents communicate about the children. The more details that adults include in their parenting plans, the less likely they are to find themselves embroiled in a major dispute later when they co-parent together.
The three issues below are among some of the leading reasons that parents may find themselves fighting and possibly preparing to go back to family court if expectations aren’t set proactively within the terms of a custody order or parenting plan.
Vacations and family travel
Taking a vacation with the children can be a way to bond after a difficult time. However, vacations are expensive and disruptive to a household schedule. One parent may fight the other on vacation plans if they have to rework their custody schedule to accommodate the travel. There could also be concerns about any travel that might take the children out of the state or out of the country. Clarifying restrictions on where and when parents can travel with their children can eliminate a potential source of conflict.
Phones and social media
If parents divorce while their children are still young, it could be many years before the children start asking for their own mobile devices. Eventually, young adults want to have their own phones and to join their peers on social media networks. Parents may fight over when the children are old enough to have their own devices, how much privacy they receive regarding the use of those devices and what social media use is appropriate. Establishing rules on those issues before the children start asking for devices can eliminate a potential source of conflict.
When children get part-time jobs or join a sports team, their activities outside of school can put pressure on the family schedule. They can also generate financial challenges in some cases. Parents may want to discuss what activities might be appropriate and what ones would not be acceptable. They may also want to establish standards for when children can get a job or join a team.
By clarifying these matters ahead of time, parents can reduce the likelihood that they might end up embroiled in a major disagreement later. Establishing shared standards and expectations can set those preparing for years of co-parenting up for a greater chance of success.