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Custody and Parenting Plans

Child custody and parenting plans are tricky issues as far as divorce is concerned. Professional help in terms of legal advice from a Columbus Georgia child custody lawyer would prove invaluable under the circumstances. Traditionally, custody is granted to one parent who is the primary custodial parent while the other is the non-custodial parent who enjoys visitation rights.

Primary parent retains all rights to make important decisions with respect to child. In order to keep relations amicable and happy, it is in good interests to refer to non-custodial parent as temporary custodial parent. Many a volatile situation can be controlled in this manner.

Approach custody issues very sensibly, and do not expect to come up with the most convenient plan in your first try. It might be necessary to make changes to this plan as time goes by and according to changing needs of your children and ex-spouse.

A parenting plan has to be drawn up very carefully and after giving due considerations to children and their requirements. Both parents have to sit down and come to agreements with regard to visitation routines, custody, support etc. This is usually done in consultation with family law attorneys of both sides as well as the divorcing couple. Sometimes, a mediator is employed to bring the two parties to agree on common terms so that everything can be settled amicably. The mediator is a third neutral party, either appointed by court or privately hired.

Small children, especially of three years or less, need a primary home and cannot be subjected to lot of changes in environment hence are better off with short visits from the other parent. Teenagers adjust better to flexible arrangements and those above fourteen years of age can even have a say as to where they want to stay and with whom. Children between four and thirteen years of age are big enough to handle regular alternating schedule with alternate weekends spent with non-custodial parent. Joint custody allows equal time-sharing between both parents. These constitute general parenting plan guideline and this can be changed in agreement with both the spouses.

Parenting plan should be structured in such a way that there are allowances for sudden new circumstances pertaining to your or your child’s needs. Try to fit your children into your schedule, even if they are not living with you. Make it a point to never miss your meetings with your children. Try out the parenting plan and remember that it is a long term and therefore has to be feasible over many years. Thus avoid any stringent routines that require a lot of extra effort. It might not be possible to keep up with such commitments over the years.