Divorce can be tough on children. That’s why Texas law requires that parents clearly define their duties and obligations in a document. In Texas, a parenting plan is a document that clearly defines the obligations, rights and duties of the child’s parents after a divorce.
The parenting plan should foster the development of a close bond between each parent and child. For this, therefore, it is important that both of the parents agree to the parenting plan. Below is a brief overview of how to write a parenting plan.
What is required in a parenting plan?
In any parenting plan in Texas, the law requires that the plan clearly establish the rights, responsibilities and duties of parents, define who will have possession of the child at any time, and provide details about child support.
How to Make a Parenting Plan: Tips for Outlining the Parenting Plan
Take these steps when you begin outlining your parenting plan.
- Decide the amount of time the child will spend time with each of you.
- Define which of your houses will serve as the home base for the child, i.e. the child’s primary residence.
- Decide who gets to keep the child during major holidays, vacation times (summer vacation, winter break, spring break), and birthdays.
- Decide how you both will make decisions about the child’s routine, normal day-to-day life.
- If you are religious, determine which parent will be responsible for church attendance or other religious activities.
- Determine how you will make major decisions related to medical, legal, or educational issues relating to the child.
- How will the transfer of the children from one parent to the other take place? Will one drop off and one pick up? Will it be easier to meet in the middle if you live far apart?
- Determine how you and your ex-spouse will divide expenses related to the child, like school supplies, extracurricular activities and so on.
This can make up the major parts of your parenting plan, but you might also account for some important details.
How to Write a Parenting Plan: Account for the Details
A parenting plan can also include many issues that may not seem like a major issue at the time, but could create problems later if not adequately addressed. For instance, you may decide how you are going to restrict access to the Internet, whether the child is allowed to have pets, and if yes, how you will divide pet care duties.
You might also determine how you want to save for the child’s college education, and who gets to keep the child’s documents, including passports, legal papers, and other documentation.
If you have older children like teenagers who have started driving, you may also need to decide how you will handle the car purchase, driving privileges and rules, auto insurance issues, purchase of a cell phone, and other matters. Agreement with your spouse on these matters can be critical before you include these steps in a parenting plan.
Work with a Divorce Lawyer to Create your Parenting Plan
The above is a brief guide on how to write a parenting plan. If you find it difficult to resolve certain disputes about these issues, work with a divorce mediator to help resolve disputes and finalize your agreement. You may also seek representation from a divorce lawyer if you need legal representation for child custody and family law matters.
Once the parenting plan is finalized, it is submitted to the court, and the court will issue the actual parenting plan. The court-mandated parenting plan is binding for both parents.
Call 214-265-7630 to speak with Dallas attorney Julie Johnson about how to write a parenting plan. You can also schedule an initial consultation by filling out our online form on the contact page.