Divorced parents explore new territory when it comes to their children
– from how they divide the child’s time to how parenting decisions
are made moving forward. Instead of trying to fit your family’s
needs into a cookie cutter parenting plan, however, it is best to create
a plan that is specific to your specific situation, family dynamic, and
future goals. A one-size-fits all approach works for very few issues in
life, so why would you expect your parenting plan to follow a pre-defined formula?
Here are some of the important reasons why you should avoid a cookie cutter
McKinley Irvin is a premier Portland family law firm and our attorneys
are intimately familiar with child custody laws. We will work to ensure
that your child’s best interests are met and protected. If you have
questions regarding parenting plans or custody matters, we invite you
to contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
- A “standard” parenting plan form does not take all the specifics
of your situation into account, nor does it understand what your children
need. Personalizing a plan means making a plan that will work better for
- The parenting plan form provided by the court likely will not address every
single issue that may be important to you, as parents, such as education,
healthcare, and cultural issues. The form mainly addresses living arrangements
and how much time each parent spends with the children, but you are not
limited to just what is on the form.
- For the benefit of your children, building a working co-parenting relationship
based on agreement with your ex-spouse is one of the positive by-products
of working on a detailed parenting plan.
- On the other hand, if one of the parents presents a risk to the children
(such as substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence), your
parenting plan should be crafted with the aid of your attorney to put
the proper protections in place.
- It is important to consider any fears your children may have about new
living arrangements and lifestyle changes. By working together to account
for these feelings, a customized arrangement can help reduce the emotional
impact your divorce may have on your children by working on solutions
that will reduce their stress and worries.
- A plan that you customize will not only speak directly to the needs of
your children, but to your own as well. You will be able to address what
is important to you rather than following a pre-determined formula.
- Less conflict between parents not only reduces stress for all parties,
including the children, but means both households will run more smoothly.
- Build a plan around your lives, and foster better relationships for everyone’s
happiness. A plan that addresses issues like how to handle exchanges of
the children, extra-curricular activities, non-emergency medical care,
travel, discipline, and guidelines for the home environment, will give
you the tools to provide stability for your children and avoid conflict
for a more successful co-parenting relationship.