Coming up with a parenting plan that's clear and fair to you, your ex, and your child can be a difficult task. You need to outline any possible parenting issues and provide a plan for supporting your child as they grow. Well-written plans are a reference point for managing parenting situations so you can raise your kids more easily without battling with your co-parent over major decisions. They will help you resolve issues, communicate without conflict, and act as a map of how you'll handle family decisions from here on out.
When writing a parenting plan, there are several topics you should keep in mind. They cover a broad spectrum of situations from your child's dinner time to choosing proper medical care. Here are some tips on topics your parenting plan should cover.
Parenting and Custody Schedule
Make a plan for how the children's time will be divided between homes. Include transportation issues such as whether you will meet at a neutral location or drop the child off at the co-parent's home. It wouldn't hurt to add a clause about not being late for arranged drop-offs or planning events during the other parent's time.
Change in Schedule
Always set a specific time frame where you or your co-parent need to propose schedule changes and decide how you will communicate these changes. Also, figure out what to do in emergency situations.
Vacation and Travel Time
Plan out how far in advance trips and vacations need to be scheduled. Also add a provision stating who will pay for the child's airline ticket, if applicable, and note any person you don't want to travel with your child.
Visitations with Friends and Extended Family
If you don't feel comfortable having your child visit certain people due to safety reasons, make sure to tell your attorney so it can be added to your parenting plan. Plan procedures for your child's visits with extended family members and close friends, such as how to communicate with them in the event that you need to pick up your children.
Someone needs to cover your child's costs of living. Will it be you or the other parent? You'll need to divide expenses such as medical costs, clothes, food, extracurricular expenses, and school tuition. Choose whether to split each cost 50/50 or each be individually responsible for certain expenses. This decision may be made by the courts during your custody hearing, but it should always be added to your plan anyway.
Making Crucial Decisions
One of the most important things you need to plan for is how to handle major life decisions on behalf of your child. For example, what doctor will they go to? What religion will they be raised in? Will they go to church? Will they attend public or private school or be homeschooled? While some of this may be decided by the court, it should be written in your parenting plan as a point of reference.
Talking to an attorney about a parenting plan is imperative to make sure your voice is heard and you are treated as an equal in the parenting decisions. Attorney Regina Taylor offers aggressive representation in your custody case so you can better move forward towards a fair and conflict-free co-parenting arrangement. Call us today at 704-861-0700.