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A Good Parenting Plan Goes a Long Way

Child custody agreements begin with assigning custody, or conservatorship, and determining the financial responsibilities of each parent. Whether you have shared custody or one parent is the sole conservator, you must present a parenting plan for court approval that details the rights and duties of each parent. Once the court signs off on the plan, each parent must follow through to the best of his or her ability. Having an effective parenting plan in place from the beginning can make the post-divorce transition easier for you and your children. And while co-parenting with a former spouse may never be stress-free, a smart parenting plan can make it less stressful.

There are many worksheets and templates available to help you draft a parenting plan. Make sure you have covered the following:

  • Decision-making roles, including education, religious instruction and health care
  • Sharing schedules for day-to-day activities as well as birthdays, vacations and holidays
  • Designating responsibilities such as shopping for clothes and school supplies, visits to the doctor and driving lessons
  • Paying for extracurricular activities
  • Maintaining communication through phone calls, email and social media
  • Methods for resolving disputes and disagreements

Expect glitches. A phone call is not made because the battery is dead. A car accident ties up traffic for an hour. A child wakes up with a fever and has to stay in bed all day. Remember that the central goal of the plan is to protect the health and security of your child. If you have serious concerns about that, or if there seems to be a clear pattern of interference with your parental rights, speak with a family law attorney.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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