Chances are, partnering with your ex on just about anything can put a sour taste in your mouth. If the two of you share children you plan to co-parent, you will need to figure out how you can work together. The co-parenting relationship can be a tough one to develop and establish, but once you have some ground rules in place, it can do wonders for the two of you working together without incident.
So, how can you go about laying the groundwork for a successful co-parenting relationship? A great way to start the process involves drafting an agreed-upon parenting plan.
Just what is a parenting plan, and how can it help the two of you learn to co-parent together?
The purpose of the parenting plan
While a parenting plan can help you and your ex make decisions as to how you plan to raise your son or daughter, it can also present a great opportunity to eliminate potential conflicts before they arise. For example, many parenting plans include explicit details governing pickups and drop-offs, who can make important child-rearing decisions and so on, so they can help eliminate strife between exes before it develops.
Parenting plans can also help your child understand what to expect when he or she travels between mom's house and dad’s house, offering a higher level of stability than he or she may have otherwise.
What can it do?
So, what types of areas can you address in your plan? Many parents use parenting plans to establish guidelines about who will have the children on holidays, summer vacations and so on. Many parents also choose to include financial information in their parenting plans, potentially covering everything from who is responsible for paying for schooling to who will finance sports or other extracurricular activities.
Essentially, any element of the co-parenting relationship is fair game when it comes to the parenting plan. In many cases, the more detailed the plan is, the less likely the parents will be to fight over its contents.
Be prepared for change
Creating a parenting plan helps establish a routine that can benefit you, your ex and your child. Recognize, though, that you may need to revisit your parenting plan as your child ages to make it more appropriate and relevant to your son or daughter’s changing life.