If you are divorcing and have children, then the health, welfare, and happiness of your kids are the biggest concern for both you and your spouse. Creating a parenting plan is not only a great way to communicate, but it will also be an effective tool to help you move forward as co-parents. Here are a few simple tips to help you create a highly effective parenting plan.
Agree on Your Child's Needs
Before you begin creating your parenting plan, agree on what your child needs from you as a parent. For example, does the child feel more comfortable sleeping at mom's house or is your child going to be spending most of their time with a grandparent?
You also need to consider your child's basic needs, including shelter, transportation, schooling, and doctor visits. Determine who will be in charge of providing your children with these needs and how much will be spent. For some couples, it makes more sense for one parent to pay for the majority of their child's needs, simply because they make a higher income.
Create a List of Co-Parenting Dos and Don'ts
You need to agree on a list of basic dos and don'ts that you both agree upon. For instance, if either if you are going to be late, make it a rule that the parent dropping off or picking up the child needs to stay in contact. You also need to determine when and where it is acceptable to take your child on vacation and when it is okay to leave the child with a sitter.
Creating ground rules will allow you to be on the same page and ensure no miscommunication could lead to custody issues down the road.
Draft a Preliminary Schedule
Begin drafting a preliminary visitation schedule. This only needs to be preliminary, as your schedule will change once you determine where everyone will be living and create a custody agreement. For example, you may want to have the child stay with one parent half the time, and with the other parent the other half.
If one parent is staying in the primary residence, and the other is moving into a smaller house or apartment, it might make more sense for the child to remain in the primary residence most of the time. As the situation changes and the divorce becomes finalized, this aspect of the parenting plan can also be altered.
Creating a parenting plan is a great way to ensure that the child's best interests and basic needs are being met. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to contact a family law attorney, such as Charles E. Craft, Attorney at Law.Share