What Should You Include in a Parenting Plan?
Let’s begin by describing what a parenting plan is.
A parenting plan is simply a custody plan that is agreed upon by both parents and it sets out how you and your ex will continue to care and provide for your child after the divorce or the separation.
Because a parenting plan will set forth the frequency and the manner in which you and your ex will be dividing the time with your child, it’s really important to include as much information as possible to avoid future miscommunications and to ensure consistency and predictability for everybody involved.
Some things that you should consider including in your plan are these:
- The designation of legal and physical custody.
- How will you divide who will have physical, who will have primary custody, who will have legal custody? You need to delineate that very specifically and clearly.
- Daily parent and division of time, have a clear set schedule. Decide when and where the exchanges will occur with your child. Holiday schedules, visitation schedules, again, be very specific as to these.
- Who will pay for the travel back and forth?
- How far in advance do you need to get notice or give notice to the other parent before a holiday or visitation schedule takes place.
- How will you divide the time between you and your ex for the child’s birthday?
- How will you share the birthdays? Who will have one year maybe, one parent will have the birthday, the next the other parent or maybe you want to split the birthdays in half of the same day.
- Communication with your child when the other parent has custody of the child. Have a set phone time. Generally, my clients, like to set a time before the child’s bedtime. So that they can speak to the child and say goodnight and see how their day was. Decide if you’re going to have communications via phone or maybe Skype or maybe FaceTime.
- Your right, and your spouse’s right to information from the child’s schooling and from doctors. And how will you decide to make changes to this plan if necessary for the future.
The two most important things that I want you to remember when doing a parenting plan is to be as specific as possible, when you make the plan, you don’t want any chances of miscommunication, misrepresentations on any future chances of having to return to court because you were not clear on a certain issue. And to just keep in mind that this is for your child. So you keep your child’s best interest at the forefront of any decisions that you make with your ex in regards to this parenting plan.
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