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Important issues to address in a co-parenting plan

Divorcing parents in Minnesota often split custody of their children and engage in co-parenting. Experts urge parents to establish a "new normal" during the transition to two households as soon as possible. Writing a co-parenting plan may help former spouses set up the necessary rules and schedules. Although the plan can address almost any aspect of family life, the terms should specifically map out basics like visitation schedules, rules, discipline, schooling and medical decision-making authority.

The plan can spell out the custody schedule and explain how to deal with inevitable disputes that will arise about schedule changes. By creating a process for dispute resolution, parents will have a way to address potential problems. The agreement should outline rules and discipline methods, which parents need to observe in both households. This will allow children to grow up under consistent standards.

The co-parenting plan could also detail how children are transported to school and extracurricular activities. As for medical decisions, the plan will specify whether one or both parents can approve care.

A parent entering the divorce process or who needs to modify an existing child custody plan may want to seek out legal representation. An attorney could provide advice about parental rights that might help a parent gain access to children. If the client has trouble engaging the ex-spouse in a productive conversation, an attorney could act as the negotiator. Once the parents reach an agreement, the attorney could write the co-parenting plan. If terms cannot be reached, an attorney could represent the client in court.

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