For Pennsylvania parents who are divorcing, one of the most difficult aspects of the situation may be dealing with child custody and visitation. The subject is emotionally difficult, and parents may also worry about how it affects their children. A strong parenting plan is one way to navigate these difficulties.
A parenting plan cannot solve every problem, but it does give parents the opportunity to discuss and negotiate various scenarios. This creates a foundation for later conflicts that may arise. The parenting plan also sends a message to children that their parents are concerned about them. It can create a sense of boundaries and stability for all involved. This can be particularly important because even after the children grow up, they may have their own children and parents might need to continue to interact. Setting the stage for these future events early on might be key to making them work for years to come.
A parenting plan generally has three components. The first two parts are physical and legal custody. Physical custody is about where the child lives while legal custody is about who has the right to make decisions for the child regarding issues like education. These may both be shared. The third component deals with situations like a parent moving.
Many parents may want to opt for mediation in order to create a parenting plan. Mediation has the advantage of trying to work toward solutions that satisfy everyone as opposed to litigation which tends to be more adversarial in nature. An environment in which there is less conflict and parents are able to work together is generally better for children as well.