While sharing custody of your son or daughter with your former spouse may lead to significant benefits for your child, it may not have been your first preference. Even if you were in favor of having your child split time between your own home and that of your ex, you may find that it takes some time to adjust to the transition.
You may also find that the transition proves to be easier on everyone when you and your ex set clear guidelines about how you plan to parent your shared child in the absence of the other party. Many former couples find that putting a parenting plan in writing helps them avoid contention and disagreement down the line, and many cover similar aspects of co-parenting within their plans. While there is, of course, going to be some variation between one parenting plan and the next, most people cover the following in theirs.
Arrangements regarding parenting time
While you should include an overview of your custody arrangement within your parenting plan, you should also take a few extra steps. Many divorced parents bicker over where a child is going to be on birthdays, holidays, school vacations and so on. By setting clear guidelines regarding these areas in your parenting plan, you should be able to set expectations and avoid unnecessary acrimoniousness.
Considerations regarding parental responsibility
Many parenting plans also include language dictating each parent’s responsibilities in terms of caring and providing for the child. You may want to cover when you and your ex need to confer about medical treatment, school activities and so on. You may also want to dictate each parent’s responsibilities with regard to taking a child to religious services, if applicable, or to extracurricular activities and the like.
While these are some common areas that many divorced parents cover in their parenting plans, virtually anything related to co-parenting is fair game. Ultimately, the contents of your parenting plan depend on your child’s age, social and emotional needs and so on.