I’ve heard that good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth. Whether a marriage or a relationship is good or bad children should not be made to suffer when the relationship ends.
Children benefit from having relationships with both parents. However, there can be bumps in the road in working out details related to the parenting time each parent has with the children. The best way to deal with these issues is to have a detailed, well written reasonable parenting plan. The following are some issues that should be dealt with in a well written parenting plan:
Parenting plans should include schedules for each parent. These schedules should deal with weekends and vacation periods including summer vacation, winter recess, Easter, Christmas vacation and Spring break. In addition, there should be a division of all school holidays. Both parents should have access to the children on their birthdays. The father should have the children on Father’s Day and the mother should have the children on Mother’s Day. The parenting plan should deal with who picks up the children and who drops the children off. If the parties are sharing their car seat, the parenting plan should deal with the car seat issue. If the parents do not get along and can’t pick the children up at their respective places of residence, a neutral location can be worked out as to where the children will be picked up and dropped off.
The parenting plan should deal with each parent’s ability to communicate with the children when the children are with the other parent. They should take into consideration the usage of cell phones, texting and e-mails.
At School, Athletic and Religious Functions
The parenting plan should deal with the religion of the children. It should designate with who will be responsible for religious education and the celebration of various religious functions involving the children. Children like to see their parents at their athletic events. Each parent should assist the other parent in being aware of significant functions such as school plays, school athletic functions and other school activities the children are involved in. It makes children happy to see their parents in the audience. The parents should also keep each other advised with regard to the children’s report cards, parent/teacher conferences and open school week issues. If the school maintains a website regarding the children’s activities both parents should be aware of this.
There are major decisions that affect children’s lives. These decisions deal with educational issues, social issues and health care issues. A specific framework in the parenting plan should be set up to deal with all of the potential problems with regard to these issues.
Whether good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth, when relationships break up the best way to avoid future problems is to have a parenting plan which deals with all the aforementioned issues involving the children.
Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with 40 years of experience in dealing with divorce and family law issues. He has offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties, He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.