When you are going through a divorce with children, one of the most important things for you to talk about with your spouse is your parenting plan. Parenting plans aren’t just about visitation and custody. They also address how you want to handle certain situations, like school holidays, religious upbringing and other factors involved in raising a child.
Designing a parenting plan can be complicated if you and your spouse didn’t agree well on how to bring up your children. Regardless, you need to decide both on time-share and decision-making agreements.
What are some things to consider when building a parenting plan?
There are a few things you should consider when you’re building a parenting plan including:
- Your child’s basic needs
- Your child’s need for medical care
- Your child’s age, abilities, personality, and experiences, which may impact time-sharing options or decisions about how to raise them
- How you’d like to provide your child with a balanced, consistent schedule on holidays, during school and in day-to-day life
You want to build a plan that has good details and is easy to follow. However, you also need to be flexible. Remember, children aren’t always predictable, and your lives may all be more different than you expected. A little flexibility can go a long way toward making the parenting plan work well.
With the majority of parenting plans, it’s a good idea to include language that makes sure that both parents can communicate with the child, review the child’s school and medical records, have the other parent’s contact information and be able to obtain information about their child.
With any parenting plan, consistency is the key to helping your child adjust and bond well to you and your ex-spouse. Younger children will need to see each of you more often to be able to bond well with you. Remember that the idea of time is understood differently by young children. Just a short time away from one parent or the other can have a significant impact, so keep a regular schedule to make the transition easier on them.
If you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on how to raise your child, you may want to consider mediation or arbitration to come up with a solid parenting plan. Disagreements will happen in the future, but you both need to find ways to overcome them and to avoid involving your child in any kind of dispute.