First, you have to consider the mechanism that the child custody case is framed. It is in the context of a petition for disillusion of marriage, where you and your
spouse were married, or is it in the context of an allocation for parental responsibilities? That’s the mechanism where you and your partner were never married but you have a child together. That’s the first step is what is the procedure that you’re going to approach. After that, you have to look at the venue that you need to file your case, so you look at where everybody resides, the county. You want to file your child custody case in the county preferably where everybody resides.
Next, you want to consider what a parenting plan is going to look like. What is in the best interest of your children? Be honest with yourself. What is best for the children, and what is that going to look like on paper? You want to start putting thoughts down about what a routine schedule would be like, day-to-day schedule for the children; what days of the week make sense based upon your work schedule for you to have parenting time with the children; logistically where are they going to go to school; where is there daycare, can you make it work; and then also think about the holidays. Are there holidays that are more important to you than others? Typically, we alternate the major holidays on an even-odd year basis. Those are factors to keep in mind as well.
Also, how are you going to make decisions about the children? Are those decisions going to be jointly made? That is the preference here in Colorado, joint decision-making. Can you do that with the other parent? Is that realistic for you? Are you going to be able to co-parent?
Also, how are you going to communicate about routine situations with the children? Are you going to be able to pick up the phone and call the other party about situations that you’re having? Do you need to use a internet-based communication tool, such as Talkingparents.com or Family Wizard? Do you need to do that because of the conflict with the other party? Are you going to be able to communicate via text message or email? How are you going to exchange and share information regarding the children?
Also, how are you going to pay for their expenses? If they are participating in a soccer league or doing gymnastics, how is that going to be paid for? Also, who’s going to provide health insurance for the children? What is that going to look like? Who’s going to be involved in taking the children to the doctor? Are you both going to be involved? It’s important to think about practical and realistic solutions for your situation.