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What to Consider When Developing a Divorce Parenting Plan

Divorces are one of those events in life that you can't help but anticipate its conclusion. Nobody who goes through a divorce enjoys the process. The key to a divorce is to tolerate the process enough for you to accomplish your goals. If your divorce involves children, then it is likely that your children are foremost among your dreams in one way or another. Whether you are the primary caretaker of your children and you want to ensure that you are positioned well to do the best you can for your kids from a care perspective or if you are a parent who is seeking to have a custody split, each of you reading this blog post are likely to have different goals.

However you slice a divorce case, your goals are specific to your point, but they are still worthwhile for you and your family. Coming up with plans is critical. Many people wander into a divorce, but it is impossible to walk out of a divorce and to have any degree of success in your case. Coming up with goals, fine-tuning those goals into achievable and quantifiable goals, and then devising a plan to accomplish those goals is what a divorce is all about. It may be time for you to start thinking about these types of things, whether you want to or not. Ask yourself: what do you want to accomplish in your divorce?

All it takes to get divorced is for you or your spouse to file an original divorce petition. If you follow that step, follow the divorce process, including meeting any deadlines to attend mediation, temporary orders hearings, and eventually settling your case or attending a trial. Do this, and you can get divorced. There is no unique formula for getting divorced in Texas. You don't even need your spouse to answer your petition. All you need to do is file your case and know how to proceed within the rules of the Texas Family Code and the family court in which your lawsuit will be held.

As with many things in life, the devil is in the details here. The rules of the game may not be complex, but they can take some getting used to. It's not like you need to be fully aware of the rules of a divorce case as an accountant, teacher, real estate agent, or whatever it is that you do for a living. Instead, there is no reason for you to know much of anything about divorce until one is thrust into your life by your spouse or you choose to do the opposite.

Getting back to the issue at hand, what do you need to consider when deciding on a parenting plan in your divorce? Quite a bit. Let's consider the significant problems regarding the child custody components of divorce and go from there. The key to this discussion is to create a parenting plan that works well for your children both now and in the future. That is a difficult task to accomplish frequently, especially if your children are young. How can you possibly anticipate every single issue that may arise regarding your kids' lives between now and when they graduate from high school?

Of course, the answer is that you cannot anticipate every change that will occur in the lives of your children between now and their high school graduation. Life has a way of surprising us. I think the past 19 months have shown us that. With that said, however, there are some steps you can take to put into place the most effective plan possible for you and your children. To do that, you need to have a well-thought-out approach to the case. That starts with considering what is in the best interests of your children and putting everything else in second place. That shouldn't be difficult for you to do as a parent, but consider what can happen during a divorce to cause you to lose sight of what is best for your kids.

Preparing a schedule of possession for your children

The first issue that comes to mind when creating a parenting plan in a divorce is to think about what kind of possession schedule will be best for the kids. Many factors go into a determination like this. What works best for your family probably would not work best for your neighbors and vice versa. You need to consider the specific needs of your children, their ages, your work schedule in that of your Co-parent. As you can tell, there are many factors at play one thinking about is she's like this. From my perspective, it would make a lot of sense for you to consult with your attorney before engaging in any negotiation on a possession schedule.

I think this is true because some families need to get highly creative when it comes to creating a possession schedule for themselves and their families. As a result, you may not even be aware of all the different possibilities available for your family when it comes to situations like this. With that said, your attorney offers a wealth of experience in creating plans that work for your family now and in the future. Use that experience to your advantage. Once you have an idea of a plan that seems to work well for you and your family, you can talk with your Co-parent to see if any of your thoughts are in line with what your Co-parent is thinking about as well period from there, you can begin negotiating on this subject in earnest.

This is a complex subject to negotiate through because you have to consider the day-to-day lives of your children in going to school and holidays and vacation time. All the traditions your family has in terms of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and every other holiday will have to be modified in all likelihood because you now have to share time with a Co-parent. This will take some flexibility that is not always easy to come by, at least for many families. Some years you will have more good possession time versus others. This is because most families alternate holiday possession from year to year. So, even if this year does not seem all that favorable to you, next year may find you in a better situation as far as position on various holidays.

Additionally, you have to consider the specific needs of your child when it comes to these topics. For example, if your child has a physical or emotional condition, you should assume that when coming up with a schedule. Maybe your child is better in situations where they can see both you and your Co-parent frequently. Therefore, a position schedule where you alternate possession every couple of days may work out a better period. This will influence your work hours as well as where you decide to live after your divorce. It is best to begin thinking about these things at the beginning of the case so that you have time to prepare and make adjustments as needed.

What about custody?

The vast majority of Texas divorces see parents share custody. The legal term for this kind of shared custody is a joint managing conservatorship. Joint managing conservatorship does not necessarily mean that you and your co-parent will share custody precisely down the middle period. Instead, it means that you are more likely to be able to share in the decision-making responsibilities and time with your children on a nearly consistent basis in many regards. The idea that one parent holds the vast majority of decision-making capability and possession capability is not accurate for most families. Instead, even if your child does not live with you full time, you will still be able to possess your children regularly.

With that said, it is typical for one parent after a divorce to be designated as the parent who has the right to determine your child's primary residence. This is an essential distinction for families given that this parent will also be able to have the children more than the other and receive child support from the noncustodial parent. As you can tell, this is an important issue and frequently is debated during a divorce period; from my experience, if a trial is needed in a divorce, it is more than likely needed in some regard to this particular subject.

Additionally, rights and duties or at the core of conservatorships issues in Texas. How do you and your spouse plan on dividing rights and duties to your children after the divorce? Rights and responsibilities are typically held exclusively, independently, or jointly with your Co-parent. Depending on your family's specific circumstances, you all may choose to have these rights divided up in various ways to suit the needs of your children. You can talk with your attorney about what is typical regarding the division of these rights. Otherwise, you may need to work with a mediator to get through some of the more outstanding issues regarding the division of rights and duties for you and your family.

What about medical in healthcare issues?

It will be required for your parenting plan to contain language regarding medical and health care issues. The information included in your court orders will need to explain how you and your Co-parent will pay for and divide up the cost for medical and dental procedures. Additionally, you all will need to account for how health insurance will be provided to your child. Typical options are to receive insurance through one of your employers, a plan purchased through the insurance marketplace, or to have your children on Medicaid. Should your child go on Medicaid, the parent who pays child support will likely need to reimburse payments to the state of Texas or the ability to carry the child on government health insurance?

Once you get past the issues related to getting your child insured, you will need to discuss how you all will plan four issues related to getting your child to the doctor. For instance, suppose that your child has a health condition where you know they will be receiving consistent care over a long period; in that case, how are you and your co-parent going to choose which specialist your child sees? Who will take your child to the doctor, and will both parents have access to medical records? Even if your child does not have specific medical needs, you all will need to determine who will care for your child if they are sick. Some of this will have to do with your work schedules, and others will have to do with

Exchanges of possession

One of the trickier parts of co-parenting, at least at first, is learning how to manage exchanges of possession. Specific instructions and how to manage these periods will need to be included in your final decree of divorce. The more detailed and precise these orders are, the better you can understand them. The more understanding you have, the more of a plan you can put into place, period. From there, you will be better suited to manage these exchanges and thus have better experiences with your children.

You and your Co-parent will need to decide where the exchanges will take place and who will provide the transportation. Much of the time, the location for businesses will be the primary conservator's home. However, sometimes families are more comfortable with exchanges occurring away from home. These exchanges can occur at neutral locations like restaurant parking lots, police stations, or places like this. It all depends on what your family needs and but you believe is best for everyone in terms of logistics.

For example, if you and your Co-parent live on opposite sides of the city, you may agree to have visitation exchanges occur at a center point between your two homes. This would minimize the driving for one parent and could make for more straightforward deals of possession. Again, these are the sort of logistical issues that you and your co-parent should consider before the conclusion of your divorce. If you can avoid situations where you and your ex-spouse live on opposite ends of the city, you should certainly seek to do so. I understand that there are commitments related to work and other issues that may force you to live a long way apart, but those situations can often be avoided.

What are the ground rules as far as raising children?

A key component to being able to where is your children is to have some basic ground rules. It is likely the case that you and your Co-parent disagree in some regard on how to raise your children. This is all the more reason why coming up with some basic ground rules is especially important when laying out A parenting plan. Often parenting plans in this regard represent compromises between your theories and positions on parenting and those of your Co-parent. This doesn't mean that either of you is wrong necessarily in what you believe, just that you all agree to disagree.

Examples of where these parenting guidelines touch in your children's lives are food, diet, bedtime routines, the discipline of the children, education, and medical care. From my experience, you can become very specific in how you outline these parenting guidelines. Sort of in line with the times many parents try to control factors in the lives of their uncontrollable children. With that said, the more specific you are, just know in advance that it can be challenging to enforce these parenting guidelines. You frequently see in these parenting guidelines that other adults can live in the same household as a child. This can include significant others, family members, and other people over the age of 18.

With so many important issues at stake, you must be able to understand just how far-reaching a typical parenting plan is. Without a doubt, the most significant advantage that you can give yourself regarding these subjects is to have an experienced family law attorney guiding you along the way.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring, TX, is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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