Attempting to create a viable parenting plan for the years following a divorce may seem like a monumental task. While it can be stressful when viewed as a whole, it becomes easily managed when broken down into smaller areas of consideration. In this post, we give you the basic necessities of what a great parenting plan should include.
First, consider the ultimate goal. What do you want your co-parenting relationship to look like? Be honest with your intentions. Do you feel that you are able to communicate respectfully with your ex-spouse? Are you willing to be flexible with schedules and considerate of the other’s relationship with your children? Establish clear boundaries by which each parent will abide. Parenting styles and punishment tactics should be discussed.
Second, think about basic, everyday responsibilities of raising children. Decide who will handle routine medical care, and what steps should be taken in the event of a medical emergency. Choose someone to become the children’s guardian should anything happen to one or both parents. Come to an agreement on what schools will be attended, how you will approach parent-teacher conferences, and how school supplies or future education expenses will be taken care of. When the children have extracurricular activities, who will pay for them? Who will shuttle them to and from those activities? Think about the basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter, and lay out how those will be handled by each parent respectively during custodial periods. The more detailed a parenting plan is from the start, the less conflict there will be to resolve in the future.
Third, but certainly not any less important, discuss parenting schedules that will coincide with work and other obligations. The goal should be to keep the children’s routines as close as possible to what they are accustomed to. If they see both parents cooperating with one another with ease and respect, they will be more likely to make necessary adjustment without too much fuss. A solid parenting plan is the foundation for healthy co-parenting relationships in which children of divorce can still thrive.