A parenting plan is a detailed framework directing how you and your ex-spouse will provide childcare after the divorce. It is not a legal document or something specific to any one state, but a guideline you come up with to make caring for the kids work.
A well thought out and successful parenting plan says where your child will live and how often he or she will stay with the other parent. It also includes which parent is approved to make major choices involving the child’s schooling, their mental and physical health, religion, and general well-being. It also characteristically includes conditions on how future parenting disputes and disagreements will be decided, as well as any other terms and conditions on how you and your ex-spouse should co-parent the child.
Here are tips on forming a parenting plan that benefits both parents and child:
1.Record all activities and exchanges with your child.
In any matter involving children, the court will always try their best to keep the present situation. Recreate a calendar of the last six months to one year to better understand the role you have played as a parent in your child’s life. Doing this makes it easier to decide what living arrangements might be ideal for your child, and what the parenting plan should be like in the future.
2. Your child comes first.
In many cases, parents focus too much on the total amount of time they have with the child compared to the quality of time they are together. This tends to make a parent forget their child’s needs and wishes. Those must be considered. If your child wants to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities during the weekend, to take one wish as an example, it may not work if he or she needs to travel a long distance to be with the other parent.
3. Think how to best coordinate and communicate with your ex-spouse.
You and your ex-spouse should work together and communicate often to keep your schedules best arranged. While it would be great if you kept an agreeable relationship, some couples do not stay on good relations after a divorce. Consider using a cloud-based program or even email as a means of sharing calendars and schedules. You’ll avoid having to constantly talk and potentially argue with one another.
4. Encourage your child’s relationship with the other parent.
Difficult though it may be, remember that it is in your child’s best interests to maintain a constructive and positive relation with both parents. Work with your ex-spouse to keep a schedule fair to you both. No matter how much resentment you may have to your ex-spouse, avoid putting him or her down in front of your child and be supportive of their relationship.
5. Be flexible.
Note how your child is adjusting to the parenting plan. Are they doing well at school? Is your child having mood swings? Sometimes, it is possible for a parenting plan to work more for the parents and not the children. Be flexible to making changes to your parenting plan as your child adjusts to this new phase in life. Take into account, too, how your child and your child’s needs will change as he or she grows older.
The most effective parenting plan is one that meets the needs and expectations of both parents, and provides a stable and secure environment for your child to thrive. Ultimately, your child’s well being should be the most important consideration for all decisions.