For those divorcing with minor children, concerns about support, custody, visitation schedules and more will play a significant role in the process. Nebraska law requires parents to file a parenting plan and the court to approve it before it issues the final divorce decree.
Courts tend to prefer parents come to an agreement on the provisions of the parenting plan. If they encounter difficulty, the judge may order them to attend mediation. As a last resort, the court may create a parenting plan on its own, based on what it assesses to be the best interests of the child.
The parenting plan should cover custody, visiting schedules and any other issues important to the child's well-being. Like other states, Nebraska classifies custody into physical and legal. Possible arrangements may include one parent having sole legal and physical custody and the other parent getting scheduled visitation time. Alternatively, one parent may get physical custody while both split legal custody, making major decisions together. Some parents choose to split both physical and legal custody.
Decide based on what is best for your child
Each family needs to determine which arrangement works best given the specific circumstances. For example, one parent may not be in a position to provide a stable living place for a child and may best interact with the child through visitation. Other parents may live not far from one another and be able to communicate amicably enough to sustain a split schedule without disrupting the child's daily life.
Include specific details
A good plan should also contain specifics as to visitations or custody exchanges, including dates, times, manner of pickup and what to do if plans must change. The parents should also work out a system to ensure they share complete and prompt information about the child's education, medical needs and other important issues.
You can work to create the best possible parenting plan based on your current situation. However, if circumstances change in unpredictable ways, you may need to request a modification. As with an original parenting plan, proposed changes should aim for the best interest of the child.