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Even if divorce is the right solution for your future, it is likely that you will face emotional and financial turmoil throughout the process and soon after. When children are involved, the divorce can quickly become emotionally charged. Parents must work through the process of developing a parenting plan that accounts for the needs of everyone involved. Unfortunately, the proceedings can be derailed by the type of language used.

There are numerous instances of language evolving to become less possessive and more neutral. A parenting plan is no different. Here are some examples.

  • Winning custody: When a parent refers to the process as fighting for or winning custody, it suggests the ultimate goal of control or ownership of the children. Instead, refer to the process and the agreement as a parenting plan.
  • Custodial parent: In the past, custody was divided between the custodial parent and the parent with visitation rights. Instead, refer to these roles as the primary residential parent and the secondary residential parent.

A comprehensive parenting plan should consider numerous factors such as the child’s residence, where and when the hand-off will occur, and how to handle various school functions and holidays. For example, parents can trade holidays back and forth (one parent gets the long Memorial Day weekend, the other parent gets the long Independence Day weekend) or rotate every other year (this year, Thanksgiving is spent with dad, next year, Thanksgiving is spent with mom).

No two parenting schedules are the same as the needs of each family, school schedules, extended families and work responsibilities can vary greatly. It is important that you work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure all your needs are met in a quality parenting plan.