Under Colorado law, divorcing parents are required to submit a written parenting plan regarding the key issues involved with raising their minor children. Though the terms custody and visitation have been replaced by “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” and “Parenting Time,” many of the same traditional concepts apply. Therefore, your parenting plan must include provisions on decision-making regarding important aspects of the child’s life, as well as the time each parent spends with him or her.
However, the standard form used in Jefferson County doesn’t cover every possible parenting plan issue that may come up. Parents often overlook certain key issues, and a Lakewood, CO child custody lawyer can help you identify what they are for your situation. However, you may want to consider addressing:
Laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices are useful tools for education and entertainment. However, too much computer time can be detrimental to the child’s development – not to mention the fact that it interferes with the whole point of parenting time: Enhancing the parent-child relationship. In your parenting plan, set reasonable parameters on computer use for certain purposes.
Holidays and School Breaks
Many parents know to include provisions on splitting time over the week, but don’t forget to address holidays and time off school. Even if you don’t designate exact dates in your parenting plan, consider a formula that will establish which parent gets to spend time with the child and when.
Right of First Refusal
You may find yourself in a situation where one parent is scheduled for parenting time but has an unforeseeable conflict. In such a situation, it would be necessary to arrange childcare. In your parenting plan, you may want to include a provision that allows for right of first refusal: If you cannot handle child care during your own parenting time, you should give the other parent the opportunity rather than a third party.
Non-Child Support Spending
You may agree to general child support rules in your parenting plan, but you may also want to address certain expenditures that fall outside these provisions. One solution is to keep receipts or notes, then split the amount equally between both parents. Of course, you can also set a maximum per month for non-child support spending.
Stealing Parenting Time
Bitterness and resentment can linger long after your divorce is finalized, and one parent may resort to misconduct out of spite. That person may purposefully schedule certain events or appointments during the other parent’s parenting time, essentially stealing time away. You can include provisions to address this tactic, such as by requiring both parents to consent in writing when signing the child up for activities. If bitterness prevents you from agreement on these issues, you could spend a lot of time in court.
An Experienced Fort Collins, CO Attorney Can Help with Parenting Plans
For more information on how to create a parenting plan that works for your circumstances, please contact Divorce Matters. Our knowledgeable lawyers can assist with negotiations, drafting the essential documents, and enforcing the provisions as necessary to protect your interests.