One of the first steps that parents must take when divorcing is to broker a custodial agreement that details how you plan to handle co-parenting and other matters related to your child’s upbringing. The courts refer to this agreement as a parenting plan.
There are specific details that you’ll want to include in your parenting plan if you want a Massachusetts judge to sign off on it. These same details may also minimize the chance of post-judgment modifications down the road.
Details to include in your parenting plan
One of the more challenging decisions you two will need to make and document in the parenting plan is custodial arrangements. You should speak with your respective attorneys about the different options that exist, whether it’s legal, physical, joint or sole custody. Understanding the implications of each can guide your choices.
You’ll quickly find that the custodial arrangements described above impact whether one of you can make educational, medical or religious decisions unilaterally on your child’s behalf.
You two may also negotiate unique terms relating to your children’s participation in extracurricular activities or the way parent-teacher conferences are handled. You should also arrange how custody on birthdays, holidays, vacations and school breaks will be managed. Ditto for emergency health care protocols. When unexpected expenses arise, plan now for how the financial arrangements for those bills.
It’s also critical that you address how to handle any deviations from the standard parenting time schedule should they arise.
Help in brokering a parenting plan
It can be challenging brokering a Massachusetts parenting plan when you and your child’s other parent may feel bitter toward one another. An attorney can be the intermediary that can help you and your ex negotiate an agreement with which you both feel comfortable.