The Fundamentals For Creating A Parenting Plan In Virginia

There is no law in Virginia that requires you and your former spouse to create a parenting plan during the divorce process or any custody and visitation proceeding in the juvenile court. As attorneys who also build estate plans, we should highlight how no law requires you to have a will or a revocable trust either. However, there are tremendous benefits to everything we just mentioned. Today, we wanted to discuss why you should consider making one and how it can be the foundation of your co-parenting relationship. 

The Purpose of a Strong Parenting Plan 

Even though your marriage is ending, you are still a parent. Although this is an incredibly emotional and stressful time, your children need you to be there for them. Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that you and your former spouse are both in the child’s life (if they are a fit to be in it). Think of the parenting plan as a contract between you and your spouse. It outlines:

  • Where the child lives 
  • Custody and Visitation schedules (also called Parenting Time)
  • Holidays and school vacation considerations 
  • Who pays for which expenses 
  • And how to resolve future disagreements 

How to Approach the Plan

Be prepared for change, and your plan should have room to compensate for them. After your divorce, you may remarry, buy a new house in a different school district, or your career may take you in a different direction. Although you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for it. If you have to modify or adjust your parenting plan in the future, what sort of process will you follow to do so? 

Regarding change, consider the age of the child when the parenting plan is being drafted. Some couples go through a divorce while their children are very young. At the time, a 50/50 custody arrangement (i.e. an equally shared custody schedule) could make sense to both parents. However, will it continue to work when the child enters school? You do not need to answer that question right now, but you can raise the issue with your attorney while the plan is being drafted. They will provide you with a series of options you can discuss with your spouse. 

Use It to Avoid Conflict 

View the parenting plan as a means to outline each parent’s responsibilities as they pertain to the child. You may not start the process in agreement about who will get custody, but that’s okay. That disagreement will persist even if you choose not to create a parenting plan. By at least agreeing to make a parenting plan, you are bringing these issues to the surface. These problems and disagreements can force litigation, which can be stressful, costly, and time-consuming. 

Meet With a Family Law Attorneys at Select Law Partners, PLLC

The family law attorneys at Select Law Partners, PLLC, are accustomed to handling adoptions, pre and post-nuptial agreements, and anything associated with contested and uncontested divorces, including custody, visitation, and parenting plans. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, so we can help you resolve your family law issue.

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Matt Kurylo

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