Children can often make a divorce or separation more complicated. In most cases, both parents deserve to be a part of their children's lives, which means parenting plans must be made. Individuals who are able to work together can often come up with a plan between themselves and their attorneys to present to the judge instead of leaving it in his hands.
Some people think it is best to be flexible with a parenting plan. While flexibility is essential for the well-being of the children, parenting plans need to be as specific as possible to fall back on. Make sure you detail pick-up and drop-off times and locations, as well as specific days, especially in terms of holidays and school breaks. The more specific your plan is, the less there will be to argue over in the future.
One of the most difficult aspects of creating an effective parenting plan is to think ahead. When your children are young and not yet in school, the plan will often look much different than when your child is in school. No one wants to be forced back into court to fight over a new schedule at different stages of their children's lives. Therefore, you need to think ahead and try to plan out schedule changes in your initial plan to avoid these issues later.
As you consider your parenting plan, remember that just about anything goes as long as the two of you can agree to it. Think about the things that are most important to you, including religious preferences, schooling, extracurricular activities, technology use and even communication. Talk about these issues with the other parent and include anything you find important in the plan. Just as with the schedule, the more detailed your plan is, the easier it will be to follow.
Creating parenting plans isn't an easy part of the divorce or separation process, but it is a necessity. Unless you are willing to put the fate of your children in the hands of the judge, it is important to work together to create a plan everyone can live with. The better prepared your plan is, the less chances you will find things to argue about and take to court in the future, creating a more peaceful co-parenting relationship.