The divorce process brings many challenges to a couple wishing to end their marriage. From negotiations centering on child support and spousal maintenance to child custody and property division, the divorcing couple must work together to reach a compromise that allows one household to be efficiently split into two. Unfortunately, each dispute seems to have multiple layers.
For example, reaching a successful visitation solution often entails developing a comprehensive parenting plan. The parenting plan is designed to help parents avoid future disagreements as elements such as where the custody exchange will take place and how school vacations are handled. With all this stress, however, it is not uncommon for a divorcing couple to overlook certain conversations that could prevent significant arguments in the future. Here are three commonly overlooked provisions that should be addressed in a parenting plan:
- Grooming and body modifications: As the child ages, he or she might find the desire to express their individuality in a physical way. While the parenting landscape will likely evolve over time, it is wise for the divorcing couple to address certain dramatic changes. Thoughts regarding a shaved head, for example, hair coloring, piercings or tattoos could be discussed in the parenting plan. At the very least, parents can set forth a documented agreement that both parents must be involved in all discussions going forward.
- Screentime limits and punishment consistency: Different situations lead to different reactions, but it is handy to spell out certain restrictions in the parenting plan. These factors can be adjusted over time, but the divorcing couple could discuss dietary habits (limits on processed sugar or fast food) or screentime (how many hours of videogames are permissible per week). Additionally, the parents could place terms in the document regarding communicating punishments so if the smartphone is off-limits at dad’s house, the same restriction is carried over to mom’s house when custody is exchanged.
- Bad weather custody exchanges: Ohio residents are no strangers to dramatic weather patterns. Between aggressive heat in the late summer to potential blizzards in the winter months individuals might also have to fight through heavy rain and tornado warnings. It is wise to include some verbiage in the parenting plan regarding contingencies. What happens if the custody exchange is supposed to take place during a heavy snowfall? Should it be moved up or delayed? Addressing these agreements in the present can help prevent arguments in the future.
While it is unrealistic to identify and discuss every contingency in the initial parenting plan, it is wise to remember these three factors that could lead to heated disputes in the future. Do not hesitate to seek the guidance of a skilled legal professional when you have questions regarding family law matters.