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The Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417. Web site: www.nasbatools.com.

Creating and Understanding Parenting Plans

It is important for a family to design a parenting plan to insure a focused family environment. This holds true for any family, but it is a necessity for a family that is going through a divorce. A well designed parenting plan lessens disagreements, decreases conflict, and helps the entire family understand what is going to take place.

This greatly decreases conflict between the two ex-spouses, and increases the chances that the child/children will grow up in a stable environment. This also encourages the parents to work together to discuss situation rather than argue about them. Most divorced parents come to realize that with a little consistency comes a future of predictability. This will lower disputes between family members.

Parenting Plans
When children are growing up it is important that they spend time with both parents. With a well designed parenting plan this is possible. Not only will a well designed parenting plan help the parents schedule time with the children, but it will also give the parents an opportunity to participate in the children's education, finances, and any health care they may need.

Some of the basics in creating a good parenting plan are as follows:
  • When creating a parenting plan it is important that the parents stick to the schedule, no matter how difficult it may be for either parent. This will give the child some sense of trust.

  • The younger the children are, the better it is for them for the schedule be predictable. The parents must be aware that they need to work together in order to create a harmonious environment.

  • It is also important for the parents to look at the age of the children when designing parenting plans.

  • The parents must also be aware that the other parent has a difficult schedule to work with. This is why the parents must work out a realistic plan that can be followed by both of them.

Negotiated Parenting Arrangements
The parents of children who are going through a divorce must negotiate with each other in order to create a sound environment for the children. Parents must understand the needs of the children, and must take into consideration that they are doing this for the best interests of the children. The children are going through an enormous amount of change in a divorce situation, so is important that the parents work together and not against each other when dealing with the children and their future. It is also important to try to keep court involvement at a minimum when dealing with certain parenting issues. Remember that the courts don't know your children. When the parents move through the legal process, the majority of the full court custody arrangements are very low. Most of the time the parents are left with the responsibility of making arrangements for full custody.

Also, if a plan is well designed, it will insure that the conflicts between divorced spouses will be kept at a minimum. This only makes sense. When the parents can cooperate with each other, the conflicts will be almost non-existent.

Parenting Custody and Arrangements
So "Who gets the children"? Parents are obligated to provide for the children educationally, medically, safety, etc. The same holds true in a divorce situation. If the custody is joint, then the parents must make arrangements for the new living styles for the children. Both parents are obligated to provide the same needs the children would have in an in tact family environment.

The most common custody in the courts is either sole or shared custody. In a soul custody arrangement, only one parents cares for the child/children, while the other parent is granted visitation. In a shared custody, both parents are able to spent significant amounts of time with the child/children, and decisions are made together. The courts primarily award sole custody to the mother, and the father is then granted visitation by the courts.

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