4 tips for creating a parenting plan

As you navigate your divorce and custody settlement process, you need a parenting plan that prioritizes your children’s well-being and provides them with stability during this transitional period. Parenting plans help both parties understand their roles and what to expect from the process.

father teaching young child how to bike  - Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC

There are a few tips to consider as you develop your parenting plan.

1. Set clear boundaries

Clear boundaries and defined expectations help to eliminate uncertainty for both parties. Setting boundaries for both of you will also reduce the risk of conflicts. Include expectations for discipline, your child’s routines and avenues for settling disagreements.

2. Create a detailed schedule

Research shows that children do best when they can spend at least 35% of their time with each parent. The parenting plan should include a clear, detailed schedule for visitation, holiday time and exchanges that considers this. The more detail you include in the schedule, the less room you have for conflicts and confusion. Your schedule should also include details about transportation responsibilities and requirements for handling any changes.

3. Define the guidelines for decision-making

As you raise your children, you face many decisions, including those related to healthcare, education and activity needs. Define which decisions each parent can make autonomously as well as those requiring mutual agreement and discussion.

4. Work with a mediator

When the relationship between you and your child’s other parent does not facilitate collaborative discussion, consider working with a neutral third party to draft your parenting plan and settle any disputes. This can help to reduce conflict and ensure a fair, reasonable plan.

Working together as co-parents can help you mutually support your children through this transition. Most parenting plans focus on co-parenting efforts, though parallel parenting needs a plan as well. These tips can help with both approaches.

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