Considerations to keep in mind as you discuss parenting plans

Parents should keep key areas in mind as they discuss parenting plans. For example, they need to decide who makes the child’s medical appointments.

Under state law, parents in Minneapolis have the option to create parenting plans rather than have the courts decide child custody issues. Such plans should cover areas such as who makes medical decisions about the child and how much time each parent gets. In fact, many areas fall under the purview of such a plan.

Right of first refusal

Suppose one parent needs a babysitter on a certain night. Should he or she be obligated to ask the other parent first (the right of first refusal)? This approach is a way for parents to get extra time with their children without affecting child support or custody.

Health insurance

Parents should decide matters such as health insurance in a way that makes sense for them. If one parent has better health insurance, that parent is often the one responsible for the insurance payments. However, the other parent can certainly be accountable, or both parents can split payments half and half.

Decision making

One critical aspect of a parenting plan is who makes what decisions. For child care alone, the following factor into decisions:

  • Choice of provider
  • Age that children might be old enough to stay home alone
  • How much money to spend

For medical care, the decisions typically involve who makes appointments and how the parents should keep each other in the loop. The principle is similar for education-related decisions; which parent sets up parent-teacher meetings, and how can one parent ensure that the other knows about school events, conferences and the like?

Physical custody

Where the children live can be one of the thorniest aspects of developing a parenting plan. If both parents live in the same city or in the same general area, joint custody may work best. In many situations, the children get generous visitation time with one parent, and the parenting plan stipulates that day-to-day decisions fall to the parent who has the children at the time. In cases of long-distance parenting, the plan should account for visits and ongoing contact with the geographically distant parent (i.e. a schedule for video chats, emails and phone calls).

Finances and more

It is important that both parents be sure their finances can support what they agree to in a parenting plan. Some parents may need to trim their budgets or take on extra work. Also, parents should include sections in the plan about what they will do if one parent wants to move, change the agreement or has a dispute. It is best to cover every area possible rather than think certain issues will never arise.

Developing a parenting plan in Minneapolis can be difficult. Consulting an attorney can give parents the peace of mind that they have not forgotten anything.