“Daddy, can I stay at mom’s this weekend?”

“Well, I don’t know, son,” you reply, “We’ll have to ask the judge about that.”

It sounds odd. Yet, that is precisely what many parents allow to happen when they get divorced. If parents cannot agree on their child’s future when getting divorced in Minnesota, a judge will make the decisions for them. That’s right; a stranger will make decisions that will have a profound effect on their child’s life.

Alternatively, parents can agree and draw up a parenting plan. They present this to the judge, who will make it a legal document if all seems well.

This legal document allows both parents to have a say. These are five of the things you need to include in the plan:

  1. Education: Who will go to parent meetings; how you will manage extra-curricular activities; who will decide where the child goes to school.
  2. Medical: Who will be in charge of medical appointments and who will make major medical decisions on behalf of the child.
  3. Religion and cultural events: Who will make decisions about this and what role it will have in your child’s life.
  4. Time spent with each parent: How this will work out, where the child will live and how your child will spend their vacations.
  5. Contact: How each parent will contact the child, by phone, email or video call, when not with them.

While it may be hard to agree with your spouse during a divorce, it allows you both a say in your child’s future.