WATCH: How do we decide on a parenting plan that is best for our children?

By Marta J. Papa
February 10, 2016


Read the transcript of this video below.

The people most qualified to develop a parenting plan for children are the parents of those children. Ask any Judge and they will agree with me.

The best method of deciding a parenting plan is for the parents of the children to sit down in a safe, comfortable environment and talk about their goals and concerns for their children.  Then they can come to an agreement that they both think is in the best interest of the children.

Those same parents then need to make very specific decisions about the following issues:

  1. How the children will move back and forth between them in a pre-arranged manner so that the children have access to both parents using a predictable schedule.

  2. How the parents are going to make agreements in the future about important decisions regarding the children, such as education, medical care, and religion.  They can share jointly in these decisions, or one person can be in charge of each particular decision category.

  3. Finally, the parents need to address various parenting issues, like:

    a. Who provides transportation for the kids;
    b. How are they going to communicate about the children and their activities in the future;
    c. Who pays for what expenses;
    d. How to handle holidays;
    e. Vacations;
    f. Dispute resolution methods in case they can’t agree in the future;
    g. How or who is going to decide what activities – including extracurricular activities – the children may participate in;
    h. Child support;
    i. Medical insurance;
    j. Any other issues they expect to arise in co-parenting their children.

The best news is that as long as the children feel they are allowed to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, the actual “time plan” doesn’t matter.  Studies have revealed that the schedule of moving between Mom and Dad is not what matters.  It is the parents’ permission for the children to love both Mom and Dad that matters, along with minimizing parental conflict.

Marta J. Papa has been helping clients navigate the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce for over 25 years. Known widely as the Divorce Whisperer®, she has successfully completed over 4,000 mediated divorces and is considered an authority on mediation nationwide. Recently, through a Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly poll, she was voted by her peers as one of the “Best Divorce Attorneys in Missouri.” She was also elected by both her peers and Martindale-Hubbell to the “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers” in recognition of her accomplishments as a St. Louis divorce attorney. 

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February 10, 2016

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