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What matters can you address in a parenting plan?

Navigating your way through a divorce or separation is rarely easy, but there are certain steps you can take along the way to help ease the burden and avoid potential problems down the line. For example, one way many divorcing couples help eliminate tension between them and set clear boundaries both parents can agree to involves creating what is known as a parenting plan.

While the contents of parenting plans vary broadly from one family to the next, most former couples create parenting plans to set guidelines about how they plan to raise their children now that they no longer do so together. So, just what types of matters can you and your former partner address in such an agreement?

Guidelines for communications

If the relationship between you and your former partner is not the best, it may benefit you to establish clear guidelines about how you plan to communicate with one another moving forward. You may also want to consider including language in your parenting plan that prevents you and your former partner from bad-mouthing one another in the presence of your shared children.

Time-sharing stipulations

The parenting plan also gives you an opportunity to hash out certain matters that could potentially lead to discord down the line, such as who is going to have the children on holidays, birthdays, summer vacations and so on. You may also include language relating to your custody arrangement or visitation agreement, going so far as to dictate how you plan to handle pickups and drop-offs, if necessary.

Decision-making authority

Many separating or divorcing couples also find it useful to work through how they plan to handle decision-making when it comes to their shared children. You may, for example, agree in your parenting plan to confer with one another anytime important decisions are necessary, but to otherwise leave the power in the hands of the parent housing the child at that particular time.

Regardless of its exact contents, a parenting plan can be a great way for separated or divorced parents to find common ground and avoid unnecessary strife while prioritizing the best interests of the children.

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