Attorney Christina Cortino helps parents work collaboratively to parent their children. Our firm prepares parenting plans to help families share their children, even where parents are living apart or are contemplating separating.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a document that provides ground rules and directions for custody and visitation of children. It can specify the involvement of each parent in decisionmaking, holiday and vacation times, and dispute resolution alternatives to heading straight to court in the event of a disagreement. Parenting plans help the children by making their parents’ roles consistent and constructive, rather than riddled with conflict.
Mediation v. Litigation
Going to family court should be a last resort rather than a first step. Litigants are often unhappy with the results in their family law case because the court- appointed mediator and Judge have limited time to address each issue, which can yield results neither party (or their kids) are happy with.
Sitting down with an attorney to draft a parenting plan has definite results and can be customized to the family’s unique needs. No family is alike, yet in family court parenting orders are described in one-size-fits-all language that does not always reflect the unique structure of the family.
For example, a parenting plan can address:
- Holidays and vacation time
- Travel plans and itineraries
- Education and health decisions
- Religious preferences and involvement
- Long-distance parenting
- Involvement of family members
- Role of each parent
- Child support
- Financial planning for the children’s future
- Reconciliation of the parents
- Specific needs of the children, such as their special interests or needs
- Dispute resolution processes
The benefits of a parenting plan include saving time, money, and heartache in litigation. Attorneys’ fees in child custody cases can exceed tens of thousands of dollars over the child’s lifetime. That is money that can be invested for the child’s education and future, rather than being spent on attorneys.
We enjoy helping parents stay out of family court. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation to see if a parenting plan is right for you.