In New Hampshire, it is the policy of the family courts to encourage parents to share in the responsibility of raising their children, even after divorce. The parenting plan document from the State of New Hampshire Judicial Branch reads “because children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their lives, it is the policy of this state, unless it is clearly shown that in a particular case it is detrimental to a child, to… encourage parents to develop their own parenting plan with the assistance of legal and mediation professionals, unless there is evidence of domestic violence, or child abuse/neglect.”
However, the reality of working with the other parent when emotions are high during a divorce can make this more complicated. You may need a mediator or help from your attorneys to get through the process. One good thing to do before coming together with the other parent is to make a list of what you want from a parenting plan. If you look at the NH document referenced above, it goes into detail about all the decisions that will need to be made.
It can take a lot of effort to work with your spouse on a parenting plan, but it does have many benefits. Your children will see you as a good role model for cooperative decision-making. Having input into the parenting plan typically keeps both parents engaged in parenting after the divorce. Because you know your children better than the court does, you have more control over the outcome. Generally, working together to create the plan is also less expensive than waiting for lawyers to work out a plan.
You may still want the experienced advice from a divorce attorney who can help you understand your own rights and responsibilities and make sure that you are not leaving something out of the parenting plan. Having a solid plan when going into court will save you time and frustration.