A parenting plan may be more appropriate when it focuses on the parenting caregiving strengths and weaknesses instead of a strict percentage.
While experts seem to agree that there are basic factors necessary to healthy child development, there are also unique elements in every family that make generalizations unsuitable. Extracting the best child custody solutions out of the current body of knowledge in the psychology field may be challenging for parents as they develop a parenting plan. Addressing them through the Texas legal system during a child custody case may be even more exacting.
The intent of Texas family law is clearly stated in the statutes, which note that the court is committed to the best interest of the child. While the court examines patterns of neglect or abuse carefully, issues such as gender bias or marital status are not to be a part of determining the conservatorship, or custody, of the child.
Overall, the goal is to ensure that the child enjoys stability and security while spending enough time with each parent to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship. The statutes also point out that the responsibilities and privileges of parenthood should be shared by the parents.
Elements of parenting plans
According to Psychology Today, co-parenting typically involves a division of the decision-making authority and the assigning of a schedule. There are two primary aspects of parent decision-making that should be considered when assigning responsibilities. These include the larger factors such as medical, religious and educational decisions, as well as the smaller decisions that parents make every day while interacting with their child.
A parenting plan also typically defines the custody and visitation schedule, including the days and nights within the regular schedule that are part of everyday life, as well as the special days, vacation and holiday times spent with each parent.
Equal vs. best
Psychology Today notes that there may be some disparity between attempting to give both parents adequate bonding time and reducing the child’s emotional impact from the divorce. The relationships that the child already has with each parent are often significantly different. The separation could cause more anxiety if the child suddenly begins spending large amounts of time away from the parent he or she spent the most time with before the divorce.
Another potential issue is that one parent may have much less experience in dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of raising the child. These include important routines involving school work, extracurricular activities and social events such as playdates.
While time may smooth away these issues, some experts believe that making the changes abruptly may cause harm to the parent-child bond rather than strengthening it. An attorney may be able to help parents develop a parenting plan that takes these factors into account and allows for flexibility as the child adjusts to the new situation.