Creating an effective parenting plan in a divorce takes forethought and a solid understanding of family law to know what make up a good plan. Some preliminary thoughts to consider are:
- Choosing: Most courts uphold a biological parent’s right to raise their child as he/she sees fit. This isn’t an unlimited right since there are obviously life choices and lifestyles that could be harmful to a child, which is why #2 is so important.
- Interests of the Child: The overriding criteria most courts will use when examining a parenting plan are the “best interests of the child.” Different jurisdictions have their own standards, but there is amazing commonality among most courts:
- The mental and physical health of the child
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Parents’ ability to adequately address the needs of the child.
- The thoughts, feelings and reasonable preferences of the child, based on their age and level of maturity.
- Stability in the home environment
- Siblings or other children whose custody and circumstances are relevant to the child.
- The child’s school and adjustment to their community
- Any history of abuse or domestic violence in the home
- Any history of drug abuse or alcohol abuse.
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