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 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. This will help 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, very specifically and clearly.
- Daily parenting and division of time
Have a clear set schedule. Decide when and where the exchanges will occur with your child. Include specifics such as: How far in advance do you need to get notice or give notice to the other parent before visitation takes place as well as who will pay for the travel back and forth.
- Holiday schedules
Again, be very specific as to these details. In addition to major holidays, keep in mind how you will divide the time between you and your ex for the child’s birthday? How will you share the child’s birthday or other holidays? Maybe one year one parent will have the child, and the next year the other parent will have the child. Maybe you want to split holidays in half on the same day. Be specific and clear as to how these days will be handled well into the future.
- Communication with your child
Have a set phone time for when your child is with the other parent. Generally, my clients like to set a time before the child’s bedtime. That way they can speak to the child and say goodnight and see how their day was. Also, decide if you’re going to have communications via phone or maybe Skype or FaceTime.
- Right to information
Include your permission and right to information from the child’s schooling and doctors as well as a plan for handing situations in case of an emergency.
Include how you will decide to make changes to this plan if necessary in the future. This is important as it can become a big issue later on.
The two most important things to remember when doing a parenting plan, is: 1) remember to be as specific as possible, when you make the plan. You don’t want any chances of miscommunication or misrepresentations or any chances of having to return to court in the future because you were not clear on a certain issue. And, 2) the most important thing, is to just keep in mind that this is for your child. Keep your child’s best interest at the forefront of any decisions that you make with your ex in regards to this parenting plan.
If you are considering divorce, or separating from your child’s parent, consult with a family law attorney in order to ensure your child’s custody is handled as smoothly and as favorably as possible. Contact our office today to discuss your specific situation in detail. Contact us at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.