Parents who end their marriages in Kentucky face a period of adjustment alongside their children. As part of the divorce, parents usually negotiate a parenting plan that addresses when the children spend time with each parent and who makes decisions about the children’s care and activities. At a minimum, parenting plans establish a framework for managing the children’s education, medical care, extra-curricular activities and religion when applicable. Both parents could have joint authority over every element, or they might divide their authority between different areas of the children’s lives.

Educational decisions involve not only where children go to school but who takes responsibility for school communications. One or both parents will also need to manage school attendance, supplies and homework. Medical responsibilities also go beyond simply making decisions about care. Someone must schedule appointments, provide insurance and discuss care options with health care professionals.

Similarly, extra-curricular activities include tasks such as choosing activities, paying for enrollment, attending activities and talking to coaches. Religious parents will have to work out where their children worship.

Conflict might emerge around any of these subjects, but parents should generally resist urges to block other parents from parental roles. Research shows that children adjust to divorce successfully when both parents make decisions together and spend quality time with their children.

Legal advice might prepare a person to build an appropriate parenting plan. Information about rights might help someone communicate their desires confidently during discussions with the other parent. In situations involving worrisome issues, like an abusive or addicted parent, an attorney might advise someone about how to document these negative aspects for the court. An attorney may present the information to the court and potentially convince a judge to approve a parenting plan that promotes the best interests of the children.