Few things are as challenging as sharing custody of minor children after the end of a relationship. Texas parents planning to divorce or in the middle of a breakup have to create a parenting plan so that they can work together to raise their children.
Although you can litigate any custody issues and have a judge make those big decisions, your family may benefit more from retaining control and negotiating a parenting plan directly between the parents. What do you need to include in your Texas parenting plan to make it effective and enforceable?
A division of parenting time and responsibilities
The most obvious requirement of a parenting plan is that it divides the responsibility to be physically present with the children and to provide for their basic needs. You may want to discuss a rough schedule for during the school year, during holiday breaks and during summer vacation. Parents will create the best plan when they think about both current and future needs when drafting their plans.
Dividing the authority to make decisions can also be an important step. Maybe one kind of authority is more important to one partner than the other. If you come from a specific religious background, for example, you make care very strongly about what faith your children observe. The two of you need to outline how you will split that decision-making authority and also what you will do if the two of you cannot reach an agreement on certain matters.
Expectations for one another and the children
Co-parenting requires that the two of you help raise your children jointly. That process may involve pushing them to achieve more in school or helping them develop the social skills they will need to get ahead in life.
You will have an easier time cooperating with one another if you have already established your specific expectations for the children. You may also want to include rules about how you expect one another to behave during your parenting time.
Communication and problem-solving solutions
How will the two of you communicate about a sudden change in schedule? How much notice is necessary for you to change your weekly parenting schedule if it isn’t an emergency scenario?
Including rules for parental communication can reduce conflicts. You also need to think about what will happen when a conflict does occur. How will the two of you work things out and continue cooperating as co-parents? When you plan ahead for the inevitable disagreements that will arise, the two of you will have an easier time co-parenting with dignity during and after your divorce.
Understanding what to include in your parenting plan and how Texas handles custody matters will help you arrange the best solutions for your family.