7 Things to Consider When Making a Parenting Plan
Creating an effective parenting plan means putting your feelings aside and doing what’s best for the child. It also means having to think about situations that you may not be familiar with. After all, when your parenting plan is solid, it ensures you and your ex are on the same page when it comes to your child and his or her well-being. Whether you’re working at this together or if you’re working through the court system, here are seven things you must consider when creating your parenting plan to be effective.
- Parenting Schedule
The first thing you must decide is the schedule you can both handle for time with your child with shared parenting. Obviously, this needs to be done realistically. If one parent lives hours away from the other, it’s impossible for them to have the child multiple days a week. Instead, be sure the schedule arrangement makes sense for the situation at hand. If you both live near each other, then it is possible for both of you to play a more regular role in your child’s life. Be sure to discuss what’s plausible and use that information to decide the best schedule for each parent.
Aside from a schedule, both parents also need to decide on the child’s healthcare. This information should include who is covering the child’s insurance, who the child’s doctor should be, and what type of medical care they will receive. In addition, think about who is responsible for making and paying for the doctor visits as well as who will take care of the child if he or she needs to stay home from school due to illness.
Like healthcare, your child’s education is extremely important. Be sure your school parenting plan includes where the child will attend school or how the future schools will be chosen for your child. In addition, this should break down who is responsible for paying for education costs, as well as who is responsible for parent-teacher conferences, etc.
- Child Care
If both parents work full time and the child will be in need of child care before or after school, the parenting arrangement should include this information. This way, both parents will know who can watch the child and when. It’s also important to document how this decision could change in the future and by whom, as well as who is responsible for covering the costs of child care.
- Extracurricular Activities
Chances are your child is going to get involved in some extracurricular activities, and it’s important for parents to decide how this will be paid for and where the activities will take place. Also consider how the child will get to and from the events or practices. Detailing all this out will alleviate any challenges in the future.
When your child is switching from one parent’s house to the next, it’s important to document where these custody exchanges will happen. For instance, is one parent responsible for drop off or pick up at the other parent’s house, or will you meet somewhere in the middle every time? You should also document the times these exchanges should happen. This way, if any parent ever voids this exchange agreement, the other parent has grounds to bring this up in court.
Regardless of your personal feelings for one another, effective parenting means you’ll need to communicate with one another. Use the agreement to determine how you’ll communicate, whether it’s via phone, text message, or email, as well as how often. Be sure each parent is in the know about important information regarding your child’s education or well-being.
Parenting plans are meant to help create a cohesive parenting plan for those who live in separate households. By ensuring your plan is detailed and informative, both parents will have a good understanding of how the relationship will work moving forward.