Child custody is a complex issue, but in many cases, North Dakota parents are able to resolve their custody and visitation matters without the intervention of the court. If you are hoping to settle your divorce out of court and draft a parenting plan on your own, there are various things you would be wise to consider in order to ensure you have a strong and workable plan.
A parenting plan will be the foundation of your custody order. The document specifically details how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will share parenting time. The terms of your plan will influence your family for years to come, and you would be wise to keep a clear view of the future and not allow temporary emotions to motivate you as you consider your agreement.
Important elements of a good custody plan
For many parents, child custody is a sensitive issue that involves many complex emotions. Despite the difficulty of dealing with custody and visitation matters, it is possible to draft a plan that allows you to maintain strong relationships with your children. As a general rule, there are specific things you have to address as part of your parenting plan. These include the following:
- The amount of time each parent will have with the kids
- Which parent will have primary custody or if parents will share joint custody
- Which parent will maintain legal custody of the children
- How parents will share custody during the holiday season and summer vacation
- How each parent will handle visitation with other family members, such as grandparents and extended family
- A system for effective resolution to any disputes or issues that arise after divorce is final
Your parenting plan is unique to your family, and you have the right to address specific issues that are important. As you draft your plan, you would be wise to think about issues such as unusual work schedules, your kids' medical needs and more.
Shielding your role as a parent
Children greatly benefit when allowed to maintain a strong relationship with both parents after divorce. You can ensure the well-being of your kids and the protection of your parental rights by taking steps to be thoughtful and intentional while drafting your parenting plan.
Before you sign an agreement or make any decisions that could significantly affect your future, you would be wise to seek a complete evaluation of your case and explanation of the legal options available to you.