When you and your child’s other parent live in different homes, you may find it difficult to get on the same page when it comes to parenting. It may help your entire family adjust to the transition if you and the other parent create a parenting plan that sets guidelines about how to raise your shared child moving forward.
Creating a parenting plan that gives both parents quality time with the child is a great way to help your son or daughter maintain relationships with both parents. It also may help minimize negative emotions your child may feel post-divorce by showing him or her that you still plan to work together when necessary. What matters do former couples often address in their parenting plans?
The more specific your plan is about parenting duties, the better. Include information about your basic custodial arrangement, and also include any additional language about where the child spends holidays, birthdays, summer breaks and so on.
The agreement period
You may also find it beneficial to include information about how long the plan is valid. Often, parenting plans need updating as a child grows older, or as his or her needs change. Within your parenting plan, decide how often you want to revisit it and update it as needed.
Communication and transportation methods
It may help you prevent future squabbles with your ex if you include language in your plan about how you plan to communicate with one another and transport your son or daughter between homes. Maybe you plan to communicate exclusively by text or email, or maybe the parent who has the child in his or her care maintains the responsibility for returning the child to the other parent.
Other relevant areas
When it comes to the parenting plan, anything that might help prevent future conflicts and streamline the co-parenting process is fair game. Every parenting plan is specific to the family it covers, so consider your child’s needs first and address them accordingly in the plan.