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Child custody in Massachusetts: The value of a good parenting plan

Just as a business is founded on guidelines, contracts and sound decisions, you can approach co-parenting in the same manner.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Child custody in Massachusetts: The value of a good parenting plan

Article provided by The Law Office of Matthew Barach
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Even though your marriage has come to an end, your ex-husband will always be present in your life due to the fact that you have children. In Massachusetts, parents are encouraged to share parenting responsibilities but this is not without its challenges. In order for you to be able to amicably share child custody, you must be able to put aside personal feelings and focus on what is best for your children.

The parenting plan

Help recommends looking at this parenting relationship as a business one. The purpose of the relationship is to provide your children with the opportunity to bond with you and their father while allowing both of you to maintain a presence in their lives. Just as a business is founded on guidelines, contracts and sound decisions, you can approach co-parenting in the same manner.

One of the most effective tools available is the parenting plan. This is a written document that clarifies all aspects relating to the care of your children by you and the other parent. If you have more than one child, then you should prepare a plan for each child, which is appropriate to their age group and meets their specific needs.

Designing the plan

Before a parenting plan is put together, the Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts recommends keeping the following items in mind:
-The location of each parent's home.
-The parenting responsibilities each parent had before separation took place.
-The child's temperament, social adjustment and age.
-Work schedules of each parent.
-Special needs a child may have such as learning disability, medical issues, emotional problems or developmental issues.
-The child's daily schedule.

As you draft the plan, it is important to make sure that the plan covers all possible scenarios that could arise such as child relocation if you decide to start over in another state, how disputes between you and your ex-spouse will be resolved, the need to adjust the parenting plan as the child grows older and even how communication between you and your ex will be conducted.

The plan's contents

There are many elements that make up a good parenting plan. These elements include a visitation schedule, house rules to be followed at both homes and which parent will make which decisions for the children such as religious beliefs, education, medical and extracurricular activities. In essence, the parenting plan should be specific as to how children will be picked up and dropped off, bedtimes, which parent will pay for school supplies, what the rules are for friends to come over or how long that the child will be allowed to be on the computer.

Putting together a thorough and complete plan can make the co-parenting process easier for you and eliminate unnecessary conflicts between you and your ex. Due to the complexity of these plans you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

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