One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce between New York parents who have young children may be working out arrangements for child custody. The process of putting together a parenting plan might ease some of that difficulty. At the very least, having a detailed plan in place may make the transition less difficult for their children.
A parenting plan deals with legal and physical custody and can also deal with other matters as well. Legal custody, often shared by parents, is about who is responsible for making major decisions about a child's life such as educational choices. Physical custody refers to who the child lives with. The plan can also cover any arrangements not dealt with in the first two and deemed important enough to put into writing such as how to handle one parent relocating to another state.
A parenting plan has a number of other uses. It lets school officials and others know the parents are serious about their commitment to their children despite the divorce. It may help to resolve issues in case of a change of circumstances without going to court, but if litigation is necessary, it provides guidelines for how parents should proceed until those changes occur.
One advantage of divorcing parents working with their respective family law attorneys is that legal counsel can often provide practical guidance during an emotionally difficult time. While both parents usually have the best interests of the child in mind, there may be conflict about what that means. Through mediation or negotiation, that conflict may be reduced. For example, both parents might go into negotiations insisting on sole physical custody, but in the process of developing the plan, they may come to an agreement about what arrangements would best suit the individual needs of the child.