Joseph Brophy Cordell Attorney at Law
Serving West Virginia and Maryland
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Do you know you can write your own parenting plan in divorce?

Over the years, as you've raised your children alongside the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, you've likely faced many ups and downs together as a family. Perhaps, one of your biggest challenges came the day you sat your kids down to tell them you were getting divorced. Hopefully, you have a close relationship and were able to reassure them that while some things would definitely be changing in their lives, the one thing that will never change is your love for them.

In fact, studies show when children know they have parental support and are able to be open about their emotions and feelings during divorce proceedings, they often fare quite well. Like most good parents throughout the state, you want what is best for your children and are willing to cooperate and compromise to provide for their well-being.

Much room for compromise in a new parenting plan

One of the first ways to practice amicable negotiation in divorce is to write your own parenting plan. Yes, it is completely legal to do so and it often alleviates much potential stress as the court merely needs to approve your written plan rather than engage the tedious process of making every decision on your behalf. If you keep the following ideas in mind, you may be able to keep stress levels to a minimum and develop a plan that sets the tone for a successful, happy future:

  • Physical priorities: Once you decide that divorce is the best option for resolving your marital differences, you automatically prompt an entire list of questions regarding your children's physical presence. Where will they live? How often will they see each parent? Will they switch schools? A central focus of your new parenting plan should be answering these and other questions so you can make sure you and your former spouse are in agreement and you get it all in writing.
  • Special events and occasions: The last thing you need is to be arguing on the phone the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas or summer vacation, regarding whether you and your children's other parent will be with them for such occasions. You can prevent a lot of potential problems down the line by including such details in your parenting plan. By spelling it all out ahead of time, there will be less confusion when a particular date arrives.
  • Financial issues: This is where things often get messy, especially if money problems are part of what led to your marital decline. However, it's best to work out expense-related issues in a calm, amicable setting (perhaps with the help of an experienced attorney) so you have a good idea of what will be included in the court's final ruling.

To avoid negative surprises in court, it's always best to act with full disclosure regarding your finances and assets in divorce. It may be the end of your marriage, but it needn't be the end of the good times and happy memories you and your children share.

There is plenty of support available in West Virginia and the surrounding Maryland regions to help you and your kids adapt to new lifestyles after divorce. If a custody, visitation or financial problem does arise (which is not uncommon) you can tap into the legal resources in your area for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Brophy Cordell, Attorney at Law
115 1/2 West King Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-707-0673
Fax: 304-263-3378
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