If you share kids with your ex-spouse, creating a parenting plan as you move forward is a crucial piece in your family’s future. Having a parenting plan in place will shed some clarity on the roles you and your ex will have as well as any expectations involving how you plan to raise your children, which can help avoid any petty arguments. This means you will be able to spend more time focusing on your children’s needs and what is best for them instead of on your differences.
What is a Parenting Plan?
In some states, a parenting plan is required and must be filed with the court as part of the child custody agreement. Even if it is not required, however, it is in the best interests of everyone involved, including the children, for a formal plan to be drafted. Having this legal document will ensure that both parents are held accountable for the commitments and agreements they agreed to when creating it. Of course, courts understand that lives change and what worked in the past might not work in the future, so parenting plans can be modified if both parents agree to it.
What Should a Parenting Plan Entail?
A parenting plan should serve the specific needs of a family, though there are some elements that are must-haves in every parenting plan. These include:
- A residential schedule
- A visitation schedule
- Projected parenting time during holidays
- Projected parenting time during birthdays
- Transportation for visitation and backup plans
- Car seat requirements, if applicable
- A neutral drop-off point or custody exchange arrangements
- Visitation or residential schedules during school vacations
- How changes in scheduling are to be addressed, including last minute changes
- Regular and backup child care arrangements
- How relocation requests are to be addressed and how much notice is necessary
- Plans or schedules regarding maintaining continued relationships with extended family members
- Rules regarding if or when children can be introduced to a parent’s dating partner
Other recommendations for parenting plans include:
- Guidelines regarding third-party visitation
- Sleeping arrangements for children and whether or not they are to have their own bedrooms within each parent’s home
- If applicable, instructions and guidelines for administering medication
- Preferred methods for discipline
- Guidelines regarding communication between parent and child during visitation time
- Rules for internet usage
- Cell phone access
- Decisions regarding participation in school, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities
- Expectations regarding religious upbringing or civic activities
- Decisions regarding body art and piercings
The more thought and consideration you and your co-parent put into creating your parenting plan, the more effective it will be. If there is a particular issue that is important to you, or you feel strongly about, discuss it with your ex and ensure it is added to the parenting plan once it is agreed upon. This will help both you and your ex be more effective as parents since you will have already addressed most scenarios and be better prepared to handle them.
Oklahoma City Child Custody Attorney
At Mazaheri Law Firm, our family law attorneys are committed to helping clients protect the relationship they have with their children. We can provide compassionate and skilled legal representation throughout your child custody case while offering realistic and level-headed solutions to your disputes.
Our Oklahoma City legal team understands that each case is unique, requiring a customized approach to ensure a family’s needs are addressed, which is why we pride ourselves on providing personalized assistance to each client we represent. Regardless of the issues or complexities you might be facing, we can explain how the law can be applied in your situation.
Contact our team today at (405) 414-2222 to schedule a consultation with a skilled member of our legal team.