The Basic Components of a Parenting Plan
If you are divorced or separated from your partner and you have children, it
is important that you have a parenting plan in place. If you are in the
middle of a custody battle and the proceedings are taking a long time, you
should consider making a temporary plan until you can make a permanent
one. Once you are able to make a permanent plan, you will need to know
the basic components of an effective parenting plan. They include:
Parenting time schedule
A parenting time schedule shows how the children spend time with the
parents. This schedule should include a residential plan (where the
children live primarily), a holiday schedule (how holidays are divided) and
vacation time (how vacations and school breaks work). This schedule will
help the children have consistency and stability in their living situations
Plan for providing care
There should be a plan outlining how the children's care is provided. Both
parents must work together to determine how custody is split, how
decisions for the children will be made and how various expenses will be
paid. This should also include information about the children's educational
needs, medical and dental needs and religious beliefs.
Child support and expenses
Information about how much child support is paid and which parent pays it
should be included in a parenting plan. Additional expenses outside of
what child support payments cover should also be outlined. Expenses
such as insurance premiums and deductibles, travel expenses for
exchanges, emergency care and various activities should all be listed.
Extra guidelines and rules
There should be a section that details extra rules pertinent to the plan.
Guidelines such as how exchanges are made, how parents interact with
each other or communicate and how parents decide which activities the
children attend should be part of the parenting plan. Other rules like the
right of first refusal and parents agreeing not to say negative things about
each other should also be included
Parents may find it useful to keep a journal or records about their children's
behaviors and activities. A graph of how much time each parent spends
with the children may also be helpful. Information about how to make
changes to the plan and how parental disagreements are resolved should
be included in the parenting plan.
As you work to make your own effective parenting plan, consider the
above information to make the most beneficial situation for your children.