A good attorney will tell you that preparation is essential in a divorce.
At my office, we spend a great deal of time evaluating your present situation,
itemizing your records, and optimizing your goals. What a difference it
can make when a client comes to us well-prepared!
Every case may be different, but any case that involves a
child has the same bottom-line: you want your child to be safe, to be loved,
and to escape any hostility that may erupt in the divorce process. Thinking about a
parenting plan for your child in contemplation of divorce can be excruciating.
I believe it is crucial to think about what you may want a parenting plan
to look like before you actually file. Make sure you understand the principles
of legal and physical custody, and start making every effort to get involved
in the day-to-day aspects of your child's life. Get to know (or remain
involved with) your child's teachers and doctors, stay up-to-date
with their extracurricular activities, help with their homework, and generally
be a strong presence in their lives.
If you and your spouse have already physically separated, think about the
temporary plan you've already informally put in place. Are you happy
with the parenting schedule? Do you feel short-changed on time with your
child, or do you think you're shouldering the bulk of the parenting
responsibility? These are important things to think about, because a temporary
(and informal) parenting plan established pre-divorce can often establish
what is called the "status quo" once a case is filed.
If an informal plan has been put in place, and no compelling reason is
presented as to why it should be changed, you may find yourself in a situation
where that informal plan becomes court-ordered. Put some good thought
into the temporary plan you establish. You're never "stuck"
with anything, but the longer a status quo plan remains in place, the
harder it becomes to change.