Is a Parenting Plan Necessary If We Agree?
Parents are often united in at least one aspect of divorce: the care and custody of their child. Most parents want what is best for their child despite being in opposition over many other issues. You may be wondering whether you need a parenting plan if you agree on everything. To answer that, it is important to know just what a parenting plan includes and what it is used for.
A parenting plan is a complex document that must be structured in a way that benefits the child. It will outline how you and your spouse will care for your child as he or she grows up. It will typically include:
- Custody designations
- Parenting time schedules for weekdays, weekends, vacations, breaks, and holidays
- Decision-making delegations
- Procedures for pick ups and drop offs
- Contact info of regular caretakers
- Provisions for sharing health insurance and uninsured medical expenses
- Stipulations for who is responsible for what costs
You and your spouse may agree on all these issues at the moment. A plan can also put in place guidelines for how you and your spouse will deal with issues down the road. It can be hard to say with any certainty how you will deal with unforeseen events, and raising a child is anything but predictable. As children age and mature, their needs may change drastically.
As their needs change, so do the needs of your family. You may feel different down the road about issues you agree on now.
The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will require you and your spouse submit a parenting plan along with your petition for divorce if you have any minor children. Your plan does not need to be exhaustive, but it does need to make proper provisions for the care and custody of your child. The judge will need to review it to ensure it is in the best interests of your child. If you are working with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator, he or she can provide you and your spouse with the information and guidance you need to create a parenting plan that is likely to be approved by the judge.
If you have questions about parenting plans, Mediation Advantage Services can help you.
Polly A. Tatum is experienced in divorce mediation and can help you successfully create a parenting plan through guided and non-adversarial mediation. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson.
Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.