Your parenting plan is a detailed document explaining how you and your ex will share parental responsibilities and rights. This document serves as an important guide as you develop a cooperative relationship as co-parents instead of an acrimonious relationship as former partners.
Addressing all of the right issues in your parenting plan will put you in a position where you can minimize the conflicts you have with your ex and help smooth what would otherwise be a difficult transition for your family. What are the most important inclusions in your parenting plan?
A basic schedule for your parenting arrangements
One of the most important considerations will be the overall breakdown of your parenting time. Will you try to make things as even as possible, possibly by rotating weeks? Will one of you be responsible for the children throughout the week because the other will never be able to leave their job to get the children from school in an emergency?
You need to set a basic schedule for your average week during the school year and during the summer. You also need to think about how you will share holidays, birthdays and special events, like school concerts.
A plan for communication and future conflicts
What are the rules for how you and your ex interact with one another? Maybe you want at least 24 hours’ notice before any major changes to your weekly schedule. Perhaps you want communication in writing about any custody-related matters. You can include rules for how you communicate with one another in your parenting plan.
You can also include rules for an alternate approach during times of increased conflict between the two of you. Agreeing to written communication when there is a disagreement or deciding ahead of time about how you will resolve disputes, such as sitting down with a mediator or a family therapist, can help you overcome conflicts as they develop for your family.
Expectations and rules for the children
Do you expect your oldest to maintain certain grades if they want to join baseball in the spring? Are there housework requirements before your children can use social media or streaming services? What is your family’s approach to discipline? You need to think about rules and their enforcement, as well as overall expectations, so that things remain consistent between both households.
Including all of the right information in your parenting plan will help make your transition to shared custody easier for your family.