When parents of minor children go through divorce in South Carolina, some of the most important issues before the court are child custody, visitation, and support. While statutory guidelines are in place for calculating child support, the parties are more directly involved with respect to the other two topics. To set the stage for decisions on custody and visitation, the South Carolina child custody statute requires each parent to create and submit a parenting plan. Alternatively, the parents can submit a joint parenting plan they agree to and develop together.
The benefits of negotiating a parenting plan are numerous, for you and your child. One of the most positive advantages is that conflict is less likely later because both parents participated and developed the agreement together. The statute provides guidance on parenting plans, but there are some items you might not think to include. A Charleston child custody attorney will counsel you on the following points to not overlook when working out an agreed parenting plan.
Household Rules and Routine:
Kids need structure and consistency, especially when transitioning between two households according to the parenting time schedule. To reinforce stability, your agreement should include similar rules and routines across your two homes. Examples include:
- Bedtimes for school nights and weekends;
- Keeping bedrooms clean and other chores; and,
- Requirements to finish homework before fun.
Online and Gaming Time:
This topic should also be addressed in household rules, but make sure your co-parenting agreement covers online time specifically. You should establish the amount of time and appropriate times of day to be gaming, engaging on social media, or streaming. Plus, it is wise for parents to discuss limitations on the types of content and set certain platforms as being off-limits.
Details on Transfers:
You might overlook the importance of smooth drop-offs and pick-ups when exchanging children between your households. Some parents do best to avoid conflict when they do not interact at all during the encounter, particularly if the divorce was recent.
Right of First Refusal:
This concept refers to the situation when one person who has parenting time cannot do it because of work or a personal conflict. He or she would be responsible for arranging childcare. The right of first refusal would require that parent to offer the other a chance to provide it – instead of getting a paying for a sitter.
Conflict is likely in the years after you create your agreed parenting plan, but you can include provisions on how to handle disagreements. You might consider a clause requiring mediation to resolve disputes or a process by which you can agree to modifications. Court may still be involved, but you could avoid a drawn-out hearing.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a South Carolina Child Custody Lawyer Today
For more information on negotiating parenting plans, please contact the Peck Law Firm. You can call 843.631.7117 or check us out online to schedule a free case review. Our team serves clients in Charleston County and throughout the region, so we are ready to assist with your child custody questions.