If you are going through a divorce then you will want to make the process as easy as possible for your children. This is the reason why creating a workable parenting plan is so important, even if you and your spouse no longer get along. A good parenting plan ensures that all aspects of childcare are agreed upon and recorded in writing. This may prevent any conflict from arising in the future and will also provide stability for your children through this difficult process.
When drafting a plan, it is important that all of the following elements are included:
Primary Custody: You will need to decide if one parent is going to be the primary caregiver, or if custody of the children will be shared equally.
Visitation Schedule: If one parent is going to be the main caregiver, then a proper visitation schedule needs to be set up for the other parent. There should be some wiggle room for the times that things don’t quite go to plan. Special Occasions and holidays you will need to plan who the children are going to spend their birthdays and other holidays with. One of the fairest ways to do this is to alternate every year.
Provisions for Childcare: Even with shared custody, there may still be a time when outside child care is needed. You should both be involved in the decision about where this childcare should come from.
Schooling: Even if your children are not yet of school age, you still need to agree on schooling decisions such as which school your children should attend. You may also want to decide the amounts you are both going to contribute to college funds.
Decisions on Medical Matters: You will also need to decide if any future decisions about medical matters should be made by just one of you, or if the other parent should be consulted first.
Coverage of Health Insurance: Closely related to the section on medical matters is the decision about whose health insurance the children should be included on. If both parents intend to contribute to the cost of insurance then this should be put in writing.
Ensuring Continuity of Communication: Communication is the key to ensuring that all other aspects of the parenting plan work well. Therefore it is important to think about how communication will be maintained once the divorce has been finalized.
Having a parenting plan in place that you both agree on can make the whole process of divorce run smoother. Even though you may find communicating with your partner difficult, having a plan in place really is the best thing that you can do to make the process as painless as possible for your children.