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The importance of shared parenting and a parenting plan

Texas parents who share a child but have parted ways will still have to have contact with one another to discuss the care of the child. Disputes between the couple have to be put to the side in the best interest of the child. Family law issues, however, can be complicated and difficult to get through. This is why it is important to understand important points about parenting for both the mother and father and ways to move forward with a shared parenting plan.

Shared parenting is also referred to as "co-parenting." This is when the parents will join together to raise the child. Although it can be difficult to deal with this, especially if the couple endured a particularly rancorous parting of the ways, it is often beneficial for the child to have both parents intimately involved in the child's life. The way to do that is to come to an agreement regarding a parenting plan and stick to it as much as possible to create consistency and a sense of normalcy in the child's life.

With a parenting plan, there can be a legal document detailing how it will work. It can also be informal and agreed to by the parents. In this document, the amount of time the child will spend with each parent and when this will happen will be detailed. This plan can be changed provided both parents agree.

There are important factors that must be in place for this to work. It should state where the child will stay and when, vacations and holidays should be organized as to which parent will have the child, potential changes to the plan depending on the circumstances should be addressed, there should be a clear statement as to which parent will make the daily decisions and how this will be negotiated.

Other issues include financial support and medical care, when and where the exchange of the child will occur, how to handle a parent deciding to move to a different location and how various disputes will be settled. Given the difficult nature of family law issues, even parents with a cordial relationship and a goal of getting along for the good of the child can face challenges in organizing their shared parenting situation. Speaking to a legal professional is always a smart first step.

Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, "Co-Parenting Guide," accessed on Oct. 13, 2015

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