A parenting plan is a default agreement if parents cannot agree. It also helps establish a pattern of consistency and consideration for each parent. In some states, a parenting plan is required before a divorce will be granted to parents with minor children.
Here are a few items to consider when creating a parenting plan.
Time Sharing. Your parenting plan should include times and procedures for transitions. This may vary depending on parents’ relationships and the ages of the child(ren). Check with your circuit/state to identify the Court’s pattern in your area. Also consider your plan for holidays, vacations, school and non-school days.
Consider the best interests of the children. Which adults have played a significant role in the life of a child and for how long? Are Grandparents neutral to the presence of both parents in the life of the child? Bring significant others to the exchange. No reminders about them coming from a split home should be present. Power, position and control impact decisions about the best interests of the child.
What the child(ren) should know. Let your child(ren) know that the plan if for them and when the divorce is final. They should know the best way to contact both parents at all times and if there is a plan for either parent to remarry.
What the child(ren) should NOT know. They should know if a parent has been unfaithful. They should not be included in the court filings and proceedings unless there is a decision that directly impacts their lives. They also do not need to know about financial details, or the negative things one parent feels about the other.
What Kids Worry About. It is normal for kids to miss the other parent and worry about their parents fighting/arguing. They may also feel like it’s all their fault or they won’t have enough time with either parent.
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