Child Custody During Separation

Do parents that are separated need to have a parenting plan?

Absolutely. When parents initially separate, it is a very difficult time for the children. Their world has become full of uncertainty. They worry and wonder whether or not you will be getting back together. They may have anxiety and not know what to expect. They may even wonder if it is their fault.

It is important to create a parenting plan in order to provide your children with stability and structure. A parenting plan with a good schedule will help you give your children that security.

Having a parenting plan is also beneficial to you and your spouse because it provides you with the same kind of structure. Being separated is difficult enough without having to argue about who is going to have the kids and when they are going to have them.

Things go more smoothly when you have a good plan to follow.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

What should I include in my parenting plan?

Your parenting plan (also called a custody agreement) should contain the rules you are both going to follow as you raise your children apart.

In general, a good parenting plan should contain:

  • A child custody schedule that dictates when the children will be with each parent
  • A designation of decision making authority for important issues such as the children's medical care and education)
  • A method for dispute resolution should the parents find themselves in conflict in the future
  • A method for making future modifications to the plan
  • Stipulations and provisions regarding the care and upbringing of the children

You will want to be as detailed as possible when creating your parenting plan. This will help you spend less time arguing with your spouse (because you will have covered all of the issues in your parenting plan) and give you more time to focus on your children.

How can Custody X Change help me during my separation?

Custody X Change is child custody software that has been designed to help parents create parenting plans.

The software is easy to use. With Custody X Change, you simply sit down at the computer and click through the tabs and enter the requested information to make each part of the plan. The result is a professional document that is organized and easy to read and understand.

When you use Custody X Change, you will create an impressive document that includes everything you would want in a parenting plan, such as:

  • A custody schedule in a calendar form that includes holidays and vacation time
  • A time-share percentage report that shows exactly how much time each parent will have the children
  • The provisions and stipulations that the parents want each other to live by

The Custody X Change software contains everything you would want or need to include in a custody agreement and more, so you won't have to worry about leaving anything out. However, you can also add in your own provisions for things that are specific to your child.

You can include anything you would like. If you don't want your child watching too much TV, add it into the plan. If you want your child to wear their retainer every night, put it in the plan. You are able to add anything to your Custody X Change parenting plan.

It is also easy to make changes to your parenting plan when you use Custody X Change. This is especially helpful when you are first creating the plan if you have to make modifications to it while negotiating your agreement with your spouse.

How does a parenting plan work if we are getting legally separated?

If you are going to be or already are legally separated, you will need to create a parenting plan for the court to accept.

You will want to put careful thought and consideration into your parenting plan because if your separation becomes permanent, you plan will, as well. However, your initial plan may not always be the plan you end up with.

Once the court accepts your parenting plan it will become a legal document, (often called a temporary custody order). You will both be legally obligated to abide by the rules in the plan.

The temporary custody order paves the way for a permanent custody order. While it is temporary, you will have the opportunity to see how the plan works and agree to keep it as it is or make modifications to it.

If one parent is having problems following the plan, such as missing visits or not having the children ready to go when the other parent's time begins, you can keep track of these things and adjust the plan accordingly before it becomes permanent.

How does a parenting plan work if we are not legally separated?

Even if you are not legally separated, it is a good idea to have a parenting plan. It is never too early to create one. As soon as you and your spouse are living in separate locations, you should create a parenting plan.

Ideally, you should create the parenting plan in the same manner as you would if you were legally separated.

Though your separation may last weeks or months, it could be years or even become permanent. Regardless of the length of your separation, you will want to be prepared and provide your family with the same structure that a couple that has gone to court has.

The only difference is that since your parenting plan is not a court order, it will not be enforceable by the court or law enforcement. You will have to rely on each other to honor the terms of your agreement.

If you approach your spouse with the reasons behind wanting to create an "off the record" custody agreement, and explain that it is for the sake of the family, he or she will likely agree to work something out with you.

How do I reach an agreement on a parenting plan during separation?

There are many reasons that spouses choose to separate from each other and they are usually not very pleasant.

Separating parents may find that it is difficult (if not impossible) to work with the other parent and agree on anything. Parenting plans work best when both parents agree on them, but creating a parenting plan you both agree on during this time may be difficult.

There are resources available to help you reach a custody agreement:

  • You can meet with a private counselor
  • You can ask for help from your clergy
  • You can use a family court mediator
  • You can use Custody X Change to negotiate back and forth, editing the parenting plan until you both agree on it
  • You can hire attorneys and hope they work it out

You can try a combination of the above suggestions to help you reach an agreement. The main thing you should keep in mind is that you are creating the parenting plan for your children and it should be done in their best interests.

If you are unable to reach an agreement, the judge or another officer of the court may create your parenting arrangements for you.

What are some things I should keep in mind during the separation?

Whether you are separating for a trial period to think things through or you believe your separation will lead to a divorce, your relationship with the other parent is not ending. You will be bonded together for life through your children.

Therefore, separation is never the "end" of your relationship. It is in your best interests and the best interests of your children to try to have a civil relationship with your spouse.

Here are some things you may want to consider:

Parenting is not only a right, it is a responsibility.

  • When you are scheduled to have your kids, make sure you get them
  • Don't pawn all of the responsibility of caring for the kids on the other parent
  • Don't shoulder all of the responsibility of raising your kids without help from the other parent
  • Never withhold visitation because the other parent is behind on financial payments

Children benefit from ongoing, frequent contact with both parents.

  • Make sure your children are able to spend adequate amounts of time with each of you
  • Make sure you follow a good schedule and create a routine so your children feel secure
  • Allow your children to be able to communicate with the other parent when they are not with them
  • Encourage your children to have a good relationship with the other parent
  • Encourage the other parent to maintain a healthy relationship with your children

Don't make promises to your children that you can't keep.

  • If you tell your kids you are going to do something, do it
  • Don't make promises (or excuses) for the other parent
  • Don't give them false hope that you may be getting back together when you are not sure that will happen

Keep in mind that regardless of the status of your relationship with your spouse, he or she is still your children's parent.

  • Give your spouse the same common courtesy that you would give a stranger
  • Be respectful of your spouse in front of your children
  • Do not make disparaging remarks about your spouse in front of your children
  • Do not compare your children to your spouse in a negative way
  • Do not use your children as messengers
  • Do not blame your spouse for things in front of your children

Custody X Change can help you get your partnership in your custody situation off to a great start. Try it today and find out how to create your perfect parenting plan.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Plan

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now