Agreeing on a solution that works for everyone can be challenging when you are divorcing or separating, and there are children involved. This is where Parenting Plans come in. By setting out the basic parameters of child care in writing, you can save yourself and your child a lot of stress and confusion in the future. Read on to learn what to include in a parenting plan in MA.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
When a couple with a minor child is going through a divorce or separation, the court will suggest that the parties draft a parenting plan. Parenting Plans describe how the child will be cared for when you and your ex-spouse or partner go your separate ways.
What To Include in Your Parenting Plan
Parenting Plans can be very flexible. You’ll have considerable leeway to customize your plan to accommodate your family’s needs. That said, each Parenting Plan in MA should address the following matters:
Massachusetts law distinguishes between two types of custody — physical custody and legal custody. If you have physical custody, you are the parent who lives with the child. By contrast, legal custody is about which parent has the decision-making authority regarding the child’s finances, educational needs, medical care, and other important areas.
Your Parenting Plan must name the parent that will have physical custody and define each party’s responsibilities when making educational, medical, and other important decisions for your child.
Your Parenting Plan should also specify the parenting time for each parent — for instance, every other weekend from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. commencing November 1, 2023. Be sure to include all legal and other holidays as well.
While Parenting Plans don’t include provisions about child support, you are free to specify how you will be handling other expenses like payment for extracurricular activities, clothes, the child’s cell phone, and more.
Right of First Refusal
If one parent needs a babysitter on short notice, you can agree in the Parenting Plan that he or she must ask the other parent first before contacting a third party.
Many Parenting Plans stipulate that both parents must notify each other if they relocate with the child. You can also specify how far the other parent can move within the state without your consent (and vice versa).
Many parents choose to include a provision on introducing new partners. If you’d rather meet the other parent’s new partner first before introducing them to your child, you can include that in the Parenting Plan.
Emotions often run high during and after a divorce or separation. Be prepared for future conflicts and disagreements by including a provision on mutually acceptable dispute resolution methods in the Parenting Plan.
Do You Need Help Drafting Your Parenting Plan in Massachusetts?
Our experienced legal team at Koiles Pratt Family Law Group can help you draft a Parenting Plan in MA that works for you and your child. Call us at 978-744-7774 to schedule your consultation.