If you are going through a South Carolina Family Court case that involves child custody or visitation issues, one of the most important things you will have to deal with is creating a parenting plan that is in the children's best interest. The process can be emotional and combative, but it doesn't always have to be that way. Parenting plans are as varied as the families they are intended to serve, and a creative attorney can help craft one to serve your family's specific needs.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a written document that lays out the schedule that each parent will spend time with the children. Parenting plans can be lengthy and detailed or short and vague. They can go into depth on rotating school schedules, summer plans and holiday visits or they can leave these issues to be worked out later by the parties. However, there are important distinctions and pro's and con's to all of these approaches that should be considered before agreeing to a plan.
How to agree on a parenting plan?
The degree of difficulty in agreeing on a parenting plan will depend on the facts of your specific case. If your case is hostile or if your relationship with the other parent has soured, it can be difficult to put aside your personal opinions and focus on the needs of your children. Though it may be very hard, it's crucial to do what you can to put your anger aside and focus on the kids. Having both parties work together, with the assistance of experienced attorneys, to craft a parenting plan is almost always the best option for parents and their children, as this approach spares the expense and uncertainty that comes when leaving custody and visitation issues for a judge to decide.
What kinds of parenting plans are allowed?
If you and the other parent are able to put your issues aside and reach an agreement regarding the children's custody and visitation schedule, what happens next? Though reaching agreement is critically important, no parenting plan is final until a judge approves it. Fortunately, judges approve the overwhelming majority of parenting plans, whether they include sole custody, joint custody, or anything in between. The main thing is to ensure that the plan reflects the best interest of the child, as that is always the court's main concern and primary consideration. So long as that hurdle is cleared, the parenting plan will likely be approved.