A parenting plan — also referred to as a parenting agreement — is a document which outlines how you and your spouse plan to raise your child after the divorce and/or during the proceedings. Creating a parenting plan can greatly reduce the possibility of disagreements and conflicts between you and your spouse in the future and can create a stable environment for your child to grow up in.
While a parenting plan in and of itself is not a legal document, it can become legally enforceable when included into your Separation Agreement. It’s you that needs to make sure the plan protects your child’s best interests as well as your rights as a parent.
At Davis Law Group, we know that child custody and visitation can be one of the most contentious and emotionally challenging aspects of divorce proceedings. It’s why we go the extra mile to understand our clients’ needs and wishes regarding child custody and visitation and work hard to get the best results possible.
Divorce attorney Jay Davis and our legal team can work with you to craft a parenting plan that meets your specific needs and protects the best interests of your child. Contact us today to talk to our dependable Massachusetts parenting plan lawyers.
What Should You Include in Your Parenting Plan?
Your parenting plan must include your case number, your name, your spouse’s name, your child’s name, and your child’s date of birth. It should also specify the type of physical custody and legal custody agreement that you and your spouse have agreed upon. Massachusetts law recognizes four types of custody agreements. These include:
- Sole physical custody (one parent gets custody of the child and the other parent could get a reasonable amount of parenting time)
- Shared physical custody (the child lives with both parents for equal or nearly equal periods of time)
- Sole legal custody (one parent gets to make decisions for the child)
- Shared legal custody (both parents get to make decisions for the child)
Parenting schedules can become a source of ongoing conflicts between you and the other parent after the divorce. It’s why you need to have a focused and standout Massachusetts family law attorney on your side while negotiating the terms of custody and visitation with the other parent.
At Davis Law Group, we have capable family law attorneys who have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating the terms of parenting plans. Led by pre-eminent Massachusetts divorce lawyer Jay Davis, our legal team can help you reach an agreement which is in the best interests of all the parties involved.
Important Provisions to Include in Your Massachusetts Parenting Plan
Right of First Refusal
Right of first refusal is a stipulation which requires the parent with the physical custody of the child to reach out to the other parent whenever they need someone to look after the child on short notice. They can ask a third-party to look after the child only if the other parent is not available or if they refuse to look after the child. It’s one of the most commonly added provisions to parenting plans in Massachusetts.
Your parenting plan should specify a dispute resolution mechanism for resolving custody and visitation related disagreements that might manifest themselves between you and the other parent in the future.
You can include a relocation clause that specifies how and when a parent should inform the other parent in case they want to relocate to a different place. You can also specify how far you and the other parent can move within Massachusetts without having to get each other’s consent.
A non-disparagement clause prohibits parents from disparaging each other in front of the child. Even in the event of a dispute, parents must remain civil to each other while the child is around and one parent cannot complain about or badmouth the other parent in front of the child. It’s a critical clause to include in your parenting plan — particularly if your child is young and impressionable.
Other Key Items in the Parenting Plan Checklist
- Days or weeks when the children will live with each parent (in case of shared physical custody)?
- How, when, and where will the parenting exchanges take place?
- Who will provide childcare when both co-parents are away?
- Who will care for the child during school holidays and sick days?
- How will birthdays and important holidays be shared?
- When can each parent take the children on a vacation?
- What types of co-parenting information should always be shared between parents?
Our Trusted Massachusetts Parenting Plan Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
A divorce can impact your child in more ways than you can think. The more acrimonious your divorce is, the more your child will be affected. To reduce the conflicts in your divorce proceeding and minimize the harm to your child, you need to work with a capable Massachusetts family law attorney.
At Davis Law Group, we have a team of highly skilled family law attorneys led by successful parenting plan attorney Jay Davis, who is well versed in negotiating and drafting co-parenting and collaborative parenting plans.
To find out how we can help you with your parenting plan and other issues related to your divorce, call us today at 617-221-3548 or get in touch with us online and schedule a consultation with one of our top-rated Massachusetts parenting plan lawyers.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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