Teamwork helps a divorcing couple create a parenting plan

They say great minds think alike, and divorcing couples can apply that maxim to the creation of a good parenting plan.

The court wants to know how you and your soon-to-be-ex intend to care for your children after the divorce. Here are four important points to include in drafting a workable parenting plan.

1. Setting the schedule

The court expects you to spend ample time with your children. You can create a parenting schedule based on their ages and schedules at school. You should set up a rotation pattern that allows them to spend time with both of you regularly. Remember that children do well when they have a routine to follow.

2. Agreeing on expenses

Decide how to cover expenses related to the children; not only day-to-day expenses, but also extra costs such as medical care, school-sponsored activities or piano lessons. Determine what is and is not covered as part of any child support payments.

3. Making big decisions

Determine how you will make major decisions for the children, such as healthcare, education, discipline and religious upbringing. Looking ahead, devise a plan as to how you and the other parent will communicate about these decisions and any issues that arise.

4. Planning for special events

Expect several special events in your children’s lives, such as birthdays and holidays. Make room in your parenting plan to accommodate such events and with whom the children will spend them. Your children’s ages may play a role in who spends time with whom. If they are old enough to give an opinion, you should also consider their preferences.

Moving ahead

Your marriage required teamwork. Even though the relationship is ending, you and the other parent can still work together to develop a parenting plan that serves your children’s best interests. The document you create will become part of the divorce order and should help your children enjoy the stability and security they need going forward.

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