Questions Personal and Family

What to include in a parenting plan?


Elizabeth T Flanagan

Love without limits

A parenting plan is a written plan or a document approved by the court. It contains details about how the parents will raise their children after marital separation or divorce. Writing a parenting plan is essential as it will help you in understanding and making decisions about how you will parent your children after separating. An effective parenting plan is one which reflects the needs of the child. Always keep in mind the interest of your child before making a plan by yourself. Plan it with your partner or you may also consult a lawyer or a therapist to develop a parenting plan.

Following are some specifics that you should consider when making a parenting plan:

  1. Living Arrangement Decide who the child will live with after your divorce. Also, decide how often the other parent can meet your child. Plan the visitation schedule and include all the details such as the number of days, location, and drop-off and pick-up facilities.
  2. Vacation plans – Always plan for holidays and vacations. Also, include special days such as birthdays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, or any other special event or occasion.
  3. Education – Decide who will pay for the school and the tuition facilities. Decide who will be attending events in school or parent-teacher meeting. You have to mutually decide about his/her education or things related to schools such as trips, or school programs.
  4. Health  Decide about medical care and treatment. Who will pay the extra costs and how the expenses will be shared between both the parents. Make a plan for your child’s diet.
  5. Schedule change – You may have to change your schedule in case of illness or because of any social events. Plan in advance who will play what duty in such cases.
  6. Set rules and responsibilities  Set the standards and responsibilities for your child to help him/her learn discipline. Decide on the usage of the Internet and mobile phones. Set limits according to your child’s age.
  7. Travel details  Consider including travel details and whether a parent should give notice for all the travel or just in case the destination is out of the state.
  8. Religion and culture – In case you both belong to different faiths and follow different customs, plan what religion you want to teach.

Remember your separation should not affect your child’s life. Coordinate with the co-parent and make a decision that you both agree on.

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