Child Custody and Parenting Plans

As a divorced or separated parent, the time you share with your child matters greatly. It's not only about how much time you spend together, but also the quality of the time and the depth of your relationship.

When judges are asked to create parenting plans, they cannot spend time determining the specifics of your family's needs. Overwhelmed by caseloads, judges often focus on the broad strokes of what appears to be best for the child, rather than the intricate details that matter most for your family. To develop a customized plan, you need experienced professionals to guide both parents.

At Vacca Family Law Group, our mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys are dedicated to helping you design solutions that fit your unique circumstances. By resolving parenting issues outside of court, we help families reduce conflict and establish a parenting plan that is adaptable as your children grow and situations change.

Crafting a Parenting Plan Outside of Court

Whether you are married or not, having a written and legally enforceable parenting plan is key to how you will jointly raise your children. This plan should clearly define each parent's rights and responsibilities, covering crucial aspects such as:

  • Determining if the child will split time equally or close to equally between both parents or live primarily with one
  • Deciding how to handle important decisions about health care, education, and religion
  • Planning for potential relocations by one parent
  • Establishing how holidays will be shared or alternated
  • Creating schedules for the school year and vacations
  • Setting up communication methods (phone, text, email)
  • Managing changes in the schedule
  • Addressing future modifications of the plan

Your attorney or mediator will help transform your answers into a comprehensive plan that prioritizes your child's best interests while accommodating both parents' needs. This collaborative process fosters a healthy co-parenting relationship and prepares you for future cooperation.

The Role of Mediators and Collaborative Divorce Attorneys

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer cooperative approaches to creating parenting plans and avoiding the adversarial nature of litigation.

In Mediation, a neutral mediator assists you and your ex in finding common ground. You and your spouse may each have your own consulting attorneys who can provide individualized legal advice, but these attorneys generally do not participate in the mediation sessions.

In Collaborative Divorce, you each have your own attorney who advocates for you and your best interests. However, rather than engaging in costly legal battles, your Collaborative Divorce team works together to negotiate out-of-court solutions that benefit everyone involved.

When a Judge Decides Custody and Visitation

If parents cannot reach an agreement outside of court, a judge will step in to make the decisions. Court-ordered parenting arrangements may not satisfy either parent. Judges in New York are not required to grant equal time to each parent. Instead, the judge will decide based on the child's best interests, considering factors such as:

  • Work schedules and childcare arrangements
  • Each parent's involvement in caretaking
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • Home environments
  • The child’s relationship with other family and friends
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other and encourage a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent

Vacca Family Law Group: Your Partner in Creating the Right Parenting Plan

Parenting from separate households can be challenging, but with the right plan, you can create a stable and positive future for your child.

At Vacca Family Law Group, we are committed to helping families find peaceful and practical solutions. We assist in resolving differences amicably, allowing you to move forward without regret. For more information about custody and parenting plans that meet the needs of your specific family, contact us online or call us at (646) 502-8591 to schedule your free introductory call.