Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. The emotional turmoil combined with the legal responsibilities can lead to confusion, stress, and heartache. These feelings are sometimes compounded when young children are involved. Many wish to shelter their children from the ugliest aspects of a divorce but are unsure how. Fortunately, with a bit of planning and a willingness to work together, your family can transition to its new form with ease. All that is required is a comprehensive parenting plan treated with the same thought and care as your uncontested divorce.
Contested Vs. Uncontested
An uncontested divorce means both spouses agree on all aspects of the issues relating to divorce. These issues include property division, parenting plans, child support, and spousal support. If an agreement can be made that consists of all of these issues, the family can reduce the amount of money, time, and stress on all parties involved. The court considers the welfare of underage children to be the most crucial aspect of any divorce, so special attention is paid to custody and parenting time.
Legal custody is the ability of a parent to make major life decisions on behalf of their child. In which state the child will live, where they will go to school, what medical treatments they will receive, and which religion they will be raised as, are all decisions made with legal custody. Just like physical custody, the choices are joint or sole. With joint legal custody, both parents must agree on all of these decisions. With sole legal custody, only one parent will have this responsibility.
What used to be referred to as “visitation rights” is now called “parenting time.” Parenting time simply refers to the schedule the child or children spend with each parent. This shift in vernacular represents a more modern way of thinking in which both parents are always parenting. Helping the family, and particularly the children, understand that both parents will continue to parent even after the divorce is one of the many ways an uncontested divorce is healthier for the family as a whole.
Custody and parenting time make up the elements of the parenting plan. Parenting plans can be tailored to each unique family based on their circumstances and needs. For instance, the age of the children can have a profound influence on the details of the parenting plan. If the children are very young, a strict parenting plan may be implemented to accommodate their need for structure. As the children grow up, school and friends may take up much of their time. So the need for strict regulations can be dropped as the child becomes more independent.
The important thing about the parenting plan is that it must be carefully considered and adhered to after a divorce. The parenting plan is arguably more important to the divorce court than any other part of the separation agreement.
Requirements and Considerations
The court may look at several essential elements of the family unit to determine if a parenting plan is suitable for a particular situation. These include things like:
- The child’s emotional and developmental state
- The current level of parenting skills each parent exhibits and their willingness to improve
- The availability and location of each parent
- And the existing relationships the child has with school, friends, and their community.
In addition to thinking about the child’s experience in this way, the court will also require each parent to attend a parenting class to make them more aware of what the child is going through. When the parents work together on their uncontested divorce and parenting plan, they put their children’s needs first. This is the way to make the best out of a difficult situation.
If you are seeking an uncontested divorce, let the experts at Flat Fee Divorce Oregon help. We can help you craft a parenting plan that works best for your children. Call today at (503) 233-8868.