During a separation or divorce, you will have to come to agreements with your co-parent over many issues, including how your assets will be divided. When you have children with your ex, you will also need to reach an agreement on custody, visitation and child support, and this will result in what is known in New Mexico as a parenting plan.
Your parenting plan will cover how your child will spend their time, including which parent they will spend certain holidays with, and how things such as medical and educational decisions are to be made. While your child custody in Albuquerque attorney will be able to help you draft this plan and negotiate with your co-parent over it, the terms will largely be set by you and your co-parent. As you make these decisions, consider some of the modern parenting plan trends that may work for you.
The “Bird Nesting” Arrangement
Traditionally, parents would have the child live in two homes and go back and forth as dictated by the parenting plan terms. However, these days, some parents opt for an arrangement known as bird nesting. Under this plan, the child stays in the existing home and both parents care for them in that home while they live elsewhere.
Depending on your situation, nesting may be useful, particularly if you and your spouse do not live near each other. When the child stays in a familiar place, it is less stressful and minimizes the disruption of their life. If you and your co-parent are not sure what you want to do with the family home, this can be an option to put it to use for now that also benefits your child and makes the transition easier for them.
Naturally, nesting is not going to work for everyone. Some co-parents cannot share a living space even if they are never there at the same time, and they do not want to be responsible for each other’s food and belongings. Additionally, depending on the level of interaction and cooperation between everyone involved, nesting may be an untenable situation in the long-term.
The Health Emergency Clause
Since COVID emerged in 2020, schools have gone virtual, workplaces have closed and many people reduced their face-to-face interactions. While caution about infection has always been part of the family routine for those with disabilities and certain illnesses, this was a newer experience for many people during the pandemic, and it has also become a part of modern parenting.
When you are drafting your parenting plan, consider what your expectations are for collective and individual health protection. You will rest easier once you have an agreement that covers current and future health risks.
To do this, make sure your parenting plan answers the following questions.
- Who will make the child’s medical decisions?
- If the medical decisions are to be made jointly, do you agree to have your child vaccinated, and if so, with which vaccines?
- Are you both planning on following guidance from health authorities?
- Under which circumstances would you consider homeschooling and isolation of yourself or your child to prevent disease spread?
- Which protective measures are you going to follow when you and your co-parent are exchanging the child?
- Are there going to be special considerations upon the relocation of a parent, such as finding new doctors? If so, who will handle that?
It is worth noting that if you and your co-parent cannot decide on parenting plan terms on your own, a judge may decide those important issues for you. If you are concerned about being able to reach an agreement on the plan with your co-parent, ask your attorney about your options.