In general, Pennsylvania law permits both parents to remain an active part of their children’s lives after a divorce. Therefore, you will likely need to work with your former spouse or partner to raise your son or daughter to adulthood. Custody or visitation rights are typically articulated through a written parenting plan, and making a good faith effort to create a quality plan can be in your best interest as well as your child’s.
A parenting plan should be highly detailed
A quality parenting plan will account for everything from your work schedule to your child’s school breaks. It should include protocols for what happens if your child is ill, you get stuck working late or if other emergencies occur. Ideally, this document will stipulate who will take your son or daughter to the doctor, attend parent-teacher conferences or be available for other important appointments.
Issues to consider if you decide to nest
Nesting occurs when parents take turns living with their child in the family home. The parent who is not spending time with the child will live in an apartment or make other housing arrangements. A parenting plan can contain language clarifying who is responsible for maintaining the home or taking care of other household issues that may arise.
Make arrangements for when the plan goes awry
It’s almost a given that disputes will occur between parents, and this is generally true regardless of whether they are married, separated or divorced. A parenting plan may require disputes to be settled through mediation or other means that don’t involve a family law judge.
Having a plan in place may reduce the risk of unnecessary conflicts between yourself and your child’s other parent. Ultimately, you can spend more time being there for your son or daughter as opposed to resolving conflicts in court. If a dispute does arise, having protocols in place to resolve them can reduce everyone’s stress level, which may make it easier to come to a resolution amicably.