Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC Feb. 7, 2019

When Colorado parents decide to end their relationship with one another, they may want to make sure their child weathers the process as well as possible. Part of this process includes the development of a parenting plan that will address child custody and visitation issues. Parents should keep several points in mind when developing a parenting plan that will serve their child’s needs as well as their own.

Parenting plans should focus on the child’s best interests. This may mean making compromises with your ex. For example, it is important to accept that there will be times when your child is not in your care. Decisions will need to be made not just about who will have the child, but also how custody exchanges will be handled, what decisions you will make together regarding the child, and how much autonomy you will have to make decisions when the child is with you. You may not get everything you want, but the child’s needs should take precedence over each parent’s emotional issues towards one another.

However, separating emotion from the process can be difficult. Some parents find it useful to engage the help of a professional. A family law attorney can explain the various options a parent has, as well as what is required under the law. With this objective information at hand, a parent can make informed choices. Moreover, if a parent’s relationship with their ex is particularly toxic, an attorney can negotiate on behalf of their client and communicate with the other party, so that their client doesn’t have to.

Finally, once a parenting plan is established, it should not be left to gather dust. The child’s needs will change as they age, or the parent’s life circumstances might change over the years. It is important to review a parenting plan regularly, to ensure it still meets the needs of all involved. If it doesn’t, a modification may need to be sought through the courts.

A well-rounded parenting plan not only provides the child with the stability and predictability they need to thrive, but it also serves as a roadmap for parents who will now be raising their child separately. When parents agree on issues relating to child custody and visitation, they can work together to raise their child, even if they are no longer in a relationship with one another.