When going through a divorce with children or through a custody case, you will ultimately end up with a parenting plan. A parenting plan is like an instruction manual, providing guidance on things like which parent the children will be with and when, how major decisions will be made, and how financial expenses should be divided.
While a basic parenting plan can be found on the Colorado State Court website, the basic plan does not cover many of the issues that cause conflict down the road. Although not every issue can be predicted, the best parenting plans consider and address all the most common issues that tend to arise. When the parenting plan addresses these foreseeable issues, the parents know exactly how to handle the situation and conflict is avoided. Without a thorough parenting plan, parents often end up back in court, which is both time-consuming and expensive.
When drafting a parenting plan, there are several topics to consider. Although not exhaustive, below is a list of some of the most common issues parents should consider and include in a parenting plan.
- Regular parenting time schedule
- Summer schedule
- Holiday schedule
- Major decision making
- Division of expenses
- Health and dental insurance
Whether the parents can agree on a parenting plan or whether the Court must step in and make the decision, having a comprehensive parenting plan that covers these topics will help the parents move forward and avoid future conflict.
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Lauren Lester is a Denver affordable family law and estate planning attorney licensed in Colorado.