If you are a parent, you know your divorce will impact your children. You want to make the transition of them splitting time at two homes – yours and your ex’s – as smooth as possible. You realize that learning to co-parent well with your ex will benefit them greatly.
One of the first steps that can help establish a good co-parenting relationship and make this transition easier on your children is to create a quality parenting plan. Here are 9 essentials you can include in your parenting plan to make a strong plan:
- A custody schedule of when your children will be with you and when they will spend time with their other parent. You will need to account for any extracurricular activities they are involved in that may impact this schedule.
- Your parenting principles. This section of your parenting plan will address on how you and your ex agree to parent your children. It should include that you agree to not fight in front of your children, that you both agree to not use illegal drugs in front of your children, how you will communicate with each other and that you will inform each other about any moves, phone number changes or changes in work addresses.
- How custody exchanges will occur, including where and when you will meet for exchanges and how you will communicate with your ex about changing custody exchanges
- What your children’s custody schedule will be for holidays and birthdays
- What your children’s custody schedule will be for summer vacations and school breaks
- What your child support arrangement is and how you will handle delinquent child support payments
- How you and your ex will divide paying for medical expenses
- How you and your ex will divide paying for any educational and extracurricular activity expenses
- How you will change the custody schedule and when you will revisit your custody schedule to make long-term necessary changes with a formal custody modification
With a solid parenting plan, you can give your children stability through having a consistent schedule and solving any custody issues with their best interests in mind. You can move forward while also minimizing future conflict. Most importantly, you can set up your co-parenting relationship for success.