February 22, 2022
If you and your child’s other parent are divorcing, legally separating, or otherwise navigating a romantic split, it is important to be proactive when navigating changes to your co-parenting relationship. If you both plan on remaining active and involved parents, splitting custody and/or parenting time in some way, the courts will likely insist that you construct a parenting agreement. Also known as a “parenting plan,” this agreement will govern the expectations for how your co-parenting relationship will function. This document is legally enforceable, so it is important to treat the process of drafting it with the utmost care.
Workable Parenting Plan Strategies
If you and your co-parent hope to keep your child custody situation amicable—both while drafting your child custody and parenting arrangements and moving forward into the future—it is important to construct your parenting plan with this goal in mind. Generally speaking, you’ll want to be as flexible as you can while setting critical expectations and boundaries that will allow your child to thrive. As an experienced family lawyer – including those who practice at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright – can confirm, parents too often either construct their parenting plans in ways that are far too rigid or far too flexible. Either extreme can lead to otherwise preventable tensions.
For example, noting the days upon which the affected child will reside with each parent will allow each family member to plan ahead and to know what to expect from the schedule as a whole. Clocking parenting time down to the minute, on the other hand, doesn’t allow for enough flexibility for “life to happen.” Conversely, leaving scheduling decisions open or leaving them up to the child is so flexible that reasonable planning and consistency of routine can’t be established.
To keep your co-parenting arrangements as healthy and amicable as possible, you’ll want to structure your parenting plan provisions in ways that meet your child’s best interests while neither being too flexible nor too rigid. You may also want to outline how often you and your co-parent will be expected to communicate with each other about your child’s evolving needs and by which method(s) of communication you will engage. Some co-parents are able to be much more civil to each other if they communicate primarily via email. Others don’t do well with written communication and decide that brief telephone calls on a certain day of the week work better. Whatever you choose, make sure that your parenting plan provisions fit the needs of your unique family, not anyone else’s.