Family law professionals advise divorcing spouses with children to create a parenting plan. This document should include important details regarding how they will take care of the children after their divorce, including child custody and visitation. However, it goes beyond — and more specific — than that. Here are ten provisions of a successful parenting plan.
You and your co-parent must agree on how much time each of you will spend with the child. This parenting schedule includes weekdays, weekends, holidays, and vacations. As such, you may need to plan ahead to be specific with start and end times. For example, if the child spends every other weekend with one parent, then the plan should state which weekends those are and what time the child will go to the other parent.
Some divorced couples may harbor resentments, ending up in malicious tactics to steal time with their child from each other. For instance, one parent could plan activities outside of their scheduled time. As such, consider adding a clause in your parenting plan that prevents one parent from stealing custody time.
Exposure to Relatives
Discuss how your children will spend time with extended family members and close family friends. If there are arrangements you need to make for others, you can include their visitation in your schedule. For example, your child can visit their grandparents if they live in the same area as their parents.
Communicating With the Children
You must establish how you intend to communicate with your children when they are with the other parent. Different couples have unique preferences. Be sure to select a method that works for your situation. You may keep in touch through letters, phone calls, or video messages.
Electronic Device Usage
When it comes to your children’s electronic devices, consider establishing limits in their usage. Even if they use them for communicating with parents or for academic reasons, be sure to specify at what age they can use them and how long they can use them each day. Additionally, you must discuss who will maintain the fees associated with these devices.
Communication Between Co-Parents
Determine the best way to get in touch with your co-parent to discuss matters regarding the children. Perhaps you are more comfortable directly communicating through calling, texting, or email. However, some situations may require appointing a third-party to relay any relevant information. Be sure to specify what you can talk about and how often you must talk together.
Should you disagree on certain things regarding your custody, include a provision in your parenting plan that assigns a parenting coordinator to serve as a mediator. This way, you can avoid going into court and spending more on separate legal expenses.
Mentioning the Other Parent
Consider including a clause in your parenting plan that prevents co-parents from directly or indirectly discrediting each other, influencing the children to take sides. For instance, a co-parent could be backbiting the other, affecting the quality of the relationship the children make with the target of the badmouthing. Remember that your children have the right to form relationships with individual parents without each other’s influence.
Decide how you will share the financial responsibilities for your children. Child-related costs include food, shelter, clothing, academics, and medical expenses. While you can peacefully agree on who will cover what, your court can predetermine your case. Regardless, including the details in your parenting plan is necessary.
Finally, your parenting plan must include the important decisions for your children. For instance, you can decide how you will spend for their college education or finance their healthcare plans. Like the standard child-related expenses, the court can decide how you will share these important responsibilities with your co-parent. Still, having the details of your child-related investments covered will come in handy whenever you need to pull up receipts.
Make a Parenting Plan Now
Your parenting plan will need these provisions to ensure you can peacefully raise your children in different households. Ideally, you must discuss these terms with your co-parent. However, some situations may not allow a safe environment to agree on these provisions. Consider speaking to our family law experts at Griffin for support in creating your parenting plan.