Top 10 Things to Include in a Parenting Plan
Parenting plans will vary according to each family’s unique circumstances. However, any parenting plan approved by the Court must, at a minimum, include the following:
- Detailed description about how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child(ren);
- Time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child(ren) will spend with each parent;
- Designation of who will be responsible for healthcare decisions, school-related decisions, and extracurricular activities; and
- Detailed description of the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with one another and with the child(ren).
A good parenting plan usually goes beyond these minimum requirements and addresses each major area of the child(ren)’s life. Parents should anticipate and plan for the resolution of potential problems that may arise in the future. Common points of disagreements between parents can include:
- Vacations. How will the parties spend vacation-time and school breaks with the child(ren)? Some parents choose to alternate the breaks.
- Holidays and special occasions. How will holidays and birthdays be shared between the parents?
- Access to records. Which parent will have access to healthcare and school-related records?
- Emergency contact. Which parent will be the child(ren)’s emergency contact? Are both parents authorized to pick up the children from school? What about grandparents? Step-parents? Boyfriends or girlfriends?
- Traveling. Can both parents travel out of state or out of the country with the child(ren)? Many parents include a provision that requires a parent to provide notice of travel plans and a detailed itinerary to the other parent.
- Childcare. Can the children be left home alone? What are the requirements for choosing a childcare provider? Parenting plans can include designated childcare providers or provide each parents with a right of first refusal.
- Time spent with grandparents or other relatives.
- Transportation between homes.
- Religion. What is the religious affiliation of the child(ren)? Which parent is responsible for the child(ren)’s religious events (i.e. communion; bar/bat mitzvah)?
- Provisions for catastrophic events. For example, what happens in the event of the death of both parents; illness of a parent; and/or income changes.
By planning ahead, parents can avoid future litigation and create a parenting plan that provides solutions for problems before they arise. To learn more, contact Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org Josephine at email@example.com.