When you began to think ahead to the life you and your children will share after your divorce, you may have had a thousand thoughts running through your mind. Where will they live? Should you sell your Georgia home? Which parent will share each major holiday with the kids? What do you do if a disagreement arises? These pertinent questions may have different answers for every family, depending on factors, such as what caused a divorce in the first place and what's best for the children involved.
You'll probably face several difficult challenges before it's all over and the court hands down its final orders. Before you head to court, however, you may be able to negotiate certain arrangements with your former spouse, eliminating the stress of having to air your differences in court. In fact, when it comes to many of the questions posed earlier in this post, you can come up with your own answers by writing a parenting plan.
Is that legal?
Georgia law allows you to write your own parenting plan, but you'll still need to seek the court's approval before it implementing it. The more thorough you are when you execute your plan, the less work you'll have to do in court. You may find several ideas in the list below that help you fine-tune your thoughts and goals in your own situation:
- If you have definite preferences regarding spending certain holidays or special events (like birthdays) with your children, it's essential to put it all in writing with signatures from both parents to signify consent. That way, if the written schedule reflects that you share Thanksgiving or Christmas with your children and your former spouse tries to make other plans for them, you can simply refer everyone to the court order where it specifically states they are to be with you on those dates.
- Writing your own parenting plan is a customizable process. You can add or leave out anything you want so long as the major topics are covered, such as where your children will live, and how often visitation will be if there's a non-custodial parent.
- Legal custody is a very important matter as well. If you don't mind consulting with your former spouse on every major life decision you make on behalf of your kids, then you can list that you prefer a shared legal custody arrangement. If you feel strongly about seeking sole legal custody (meaning, you make all the decisions and need not seek anyone's approval) your former spouse would need to agree to include that in your parenting plan (and the court still has the final say).
When you and your children's other parent are both willing to cooperate and compromise, most things should work out without much trouble. If, on the other hand, you're dealing with someone who tries to create obstacles at every turn, you'll likely have your work cut out for you in trying to achieve an amicable agreement.
Many Georgia residents know ahead of time that they will need third party assistance to help solve their disputes. In such cases, they often call on experienced family law attorneys for help.