Transitioning from raising your shared child together in the same home to having that child spend some of his or her time at both parents’ homes may prove challenging for everyone involved. New residential and custody arrangements often involve a period of adjustment, but you may find that you can help diffuse potential arguments and prevent unnecessary family strife by creating a clear parenting plan from the outset.
Parenting plans are legal documents that set guidelines for both parents to follow after divorce when it comes to raising their son or daughter. The contents of a parenting plan tend to vary broadly based on factors such as the child’s age, where each parent lives and so on, but including just about anything related to parenting within the plan is typically fair game. Many people navigating the co-parenting relationship find it beneficial to include the following information in their parenting plans:
Custodial and vacation arrangements
A solid parenting plan typically details the custodial arrangement you and your child’s other parent have. It may, too, go beyond basic custodial arrangements to detail plans for how you agree to handle holidays, summer vacations, birthdays and so on.
Agreements regarding decision-making
It may also benefit you to detail how you plan to make important decisions regarding your child’s upbringing that arise over the years. It may serve you well to clarify what types of simple, day-to-day decisions you and your ex make without conferring with the other party. You should also, however, include language that covers what types of decisions require both parents coming together to make them.
Information regarding future variables
No one knows exactly what the future holds, so it may help the co-parenting relationship to account for future variables. This includes one parent moving out of state, one parent remarrying or what have you in your parenting plan.
The co-parenting relationship requires cooperation to be successful. The more matters you address in your parenting plan, the lower your chances of miscommunication.