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What should you include in your parenting plan?

A parenting plan is essential when you have joint custody of your children. Think of it as a peace treaty between you and your former spouse. It allows you to focus on the best interests of your children while avoiding conflict with your ex.

Regarding the design, the more detail in your parenting plan, the better.

Basic schedules for your children

The schedule should detail the dates and times each parent has the children. When creating the schedule, take your work schedules, your children’s school schedules and their ages into consideration. In your schedule, develop rules for exceptions to the schedule. For example, if you and your spouse rotate summer schedules, you may want to make exceptions for family traditions, vacations or reunions. Likewise, think about birthdays and holidays.

Within the schedule, you can also decide who will handle doctor’s appointments and school conferences or if you will handle those obligations together.

Suggestions for conflict resolution

Conflicts may arise, regardless of how detailed your plan is. Within your plan, detail what happens if you disagree. For instance, if you and your spouse cannot agree on payment for extra-curricular activities or whether a child should go to camp during the summer, you should have rules for dealing with those conflicts. Parents often have plans to talk to a mediator or go through conflict resolution during these disagreements.

Within the parenting plan, you can also add details on how you and your spouse want to raise your children. For example, you can make decisions on healthcare, religion, screentime and other aspects of child-rearing.