Crafting a Foolproof Parenting Plan 

We’ve talked about healthy co-parenting schedules, but now we’re going to make a parenting plan. One of the hardest aspects of divorce when you have kids, is figuring out how to keep the parenting as smooth, and unchanging as possible. You’re probably a bit overwhelmed, wondering where to start. First things first, you need to figure out what to take into consideration when crafting a foolproof parenting plan. It’s a little more formal than a schedule, and something you should spend a lot of time on. So, we’re going to help you. From where to start, what to include, and how you should document it.

Crafting a Foolproof Parenting Plan

Start by making a list

Each parent should make their own, and then one for the kid too. For each parent, it should include days they want with the child, prior engagements, family birthdays, holidays— make the lists separately and then come together for the child’s schedule. It’s important to include everything. Bring your work calendar, your life calendar— bring it all. Make your respective lists, and then hash them out, and put it on paper. You’ll each have to compromise in some regard.

Put it all in writing once a year

You’ll need this to refer to. A schedule is only half of the parenting plan as well. A parenting plan includes things such as: bedtimes, friend time, extracurricular’s, a plan for birthdays and holidays… it goes on and on. Set the date that you’ll tackle this every year. Because, let’s face it, things change over the years— so plan on making amendments once a year. You can keep the same base plan, but it needs to be altered. Mom gets Christmas year one, Dad year two— birthdays are something you come together on, it goes something like this.

Plan for it to be unchanging, but allow for leeway

No one is perfect, and no agreement is perfect. Especially your first plan, so stand by your plan but also be open to the idea of small changes. Although, the key to crafting a foolproof parenting plan, is planning for those changes. Add in a section of ‘ in the event of:’ and include things such as impromptu days off of school, new activities picked up, mom or dad starts dating, and so on. B e as thorough as possible, consider extenuating circumstances— and plan for maybe’s.

Be thorough, sign it, and make three copies

Keep one at your house, one at the other parents, and one in a neutral location. Whether that be grandma’s house, a good friend— just someone you can trust to pass it along in case of emergency or disagreement. While this agreement might not be legally binding, you should both sign it and honor the agreement. This will make it harder to break, and it can be used for record further in the future if need be.

Ultimately, a good parenting plan will make all the difference when it comes down to it. Last minute decisions are typically emotional decisions, and that’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to custody. We wish you luck in drafting, and going forward with your agreement!