Parents in Michigan who are going through a divorce and share minor children from their marriage, or parents who are breaking up and share minor children from their relationship, need to have an established parenting plan. While Michigan law allows a Michigan court can make certain decisions about child custody and parenting time based on what is in the best interests of the child when the parents cannot reach an agreement about how they will share their parental responsibilities, all parents need to have a detailed parenting plan that accounts for day-to-day scheduling issues, holidays, summer and other breaks from school, contact and communication information, and guidelines for handling minor custody disputes or complications that arise in the existing parenting time schedule. Without an established and detailed parenting plan, it can be extremely difficult to engage in successful co-parenting even under the best circumstances.
Establish the Guidelines for Co-Parenting
When it comes to co-parenting, parents have different circumstances and ideas about what is best for their child and their family. Sometimes parents want to be extremely flexible in terms of co-parenting, while others want extremely detailed schedules that outline all potential calendar issues concerning, for example, the child’s extracurricular activities in each season, the child’s school-break schedules for the year, and the child’s holiday arrangements. The parenting plan can establish the parents’ guidelines for co-parenting to guide their interactions with one another and their care for their child.
Avoid Future Conflict and the Need to Return to Court
By establishing guidelines for co-parenting, you can avoid future conflicts and, potentially, the need to return to court in order to ask a judge to resolve a dispute. By having the terms of co-parenting in writing, you can follow those terms to avoid a conflict with your child’s other parent, regardless of whether you currently have a working relationship with that parent.
Outline a Strategy or Method for Handling Conflicts That Arise
Speaking of avoiding future conflict, in your established parenting plan, you can provide detailed information about how you and your ex will handle minor conflicts that arise concerning parenting time or the existing parenting time schedule. While any major issues or any significant changes in circumstance likely will require you to have the court modify your existing child custody arrangement, many different kinds of minor conflicts can arise in the course of co-parenting. For example, a child might want to sign up for an extracurricular activity that would require one of the parents to be more flexible. Or, for instance, one of the parents might learn that she or he needs to cancel a planned vacation with the child for work purposes and might want to reschedule for a different time. You can establish how you and your spouse will work out these kinds of issues in advance.
Learn More from a Michigan Child Custody Attorney
When you have questions about child custody or need assistance developing a parenting plan, our experienced Michigan child custody lawyers are here to help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we can assist you.