What Family Lawyers Consider When Drafting a Child Custody Parenting Plan

A divorce process is challenging for most people. Tensions heighten further when you consider child custody issues. Even when both parents agree to prioritise children's needs, tensions might remain high. It is the reason family lawyers play a critical role in the development of a parenting plan. Fundamentally, a parenting plan establishes a foundation for the new family structure. When developing a parenting plan with partners during divorce, family lawyers usually consider the following issues.

1. Effects of Plan on Individual Children

In everything that family lawyers and parents do, children come first. However, it can be challenging for families with children of different ages. For instance, a parenting plan will likely affect a 5-year-old child differently compared to a 15-year-old. In such cases, a family lawyer will determine whether the parenting plan you want to develop works for each child.

Imagine a family of three siblings, with the youngest child suffering from a medical condition. A parenting plan requiring the kids to relocate to another city would be unrealistic if the sick child cannot get quality medical care there. 

2. Parenting Plan's Practicality

Divorce agreements must be practical for children than parents. A family lawyer will insist that you focus on times, locations, dates, and travels when making a parenting plan. For example, both parents are entitled to equal visitation rights in a 50/50 child custody agreement. However, you must question whether a 50/50 parental plan is practical enough for all parties involved.

Say you work two jobs during the weekend, your lawyer will not agree to a proposed plan that schedules child visitation on weekends. Similarly, a child custody agreement requiring your child to travel unreasonable distances for visitation is not practical. With a reputable lawyer on your side, you can develop a sensible parental plan.

3. Continuity and Stability

Family lawyers agree that exposing children to different environments helps with their development. However, the same attorneys are big proponents of maintaining the status quo as much as possible regarding child custody issues. The reason is that sudden and innumerable post-divorce changes are not suitable for children.

Therefore, when developing a parenting plan for child custody, lawyers focus on continuity and stability as much as possible. For example, moving to a new town means that children need to change schools and make new friends. It can take quite a bit of time, which is not healthy for a child's development.