Parenting Plans

Posted: October 5, 2009 in family law

Parenting plans are becoming more and more recognized as the way for both parents to effectively parent their children, manage their lives and their relationship with their children during and after divorce.

A parenting plan puts in writing the agreed upon schedule both parents have created regarding most, if not all, parenting arrangements.  It outlines the days, times and other details of when, where and how each parent will be with the children along with other agreements both parents will follow in the months and years to come.

The purpose of the plans is to determine what is in the children’s best interest to create smooth, easy and positive transitions between the parents. These plans encourage cooperative co-parenting so that the children feel secure, loved and nurtured by both of their parents.

Plans can be as detailed as the parents want or need.  They often include guidelines for routine arrangements as well as special occasions, including holidays, birthday and vacation time. Emergency information, decision-making guidelines, processes for sharing information, relocation procedures and means for resolving disputes can also be spelled out to minimize future conflict and court costs and to provide a consistent schedule for the children.

The plans work best if they are not too rigid and allow for some fluctuation and reassessments as the family ages and also experiences the day-to-day realities of their living arrangements.

Parenting after divorce is all about reassurance, safety and security.  Remember to allow your children an adjustment period at the beginning and end of visits as they transition from one home to the other.  This is not easy to do for adults, so think of what it must be like for children – regardless of their age.

Whenever possible create a sense of consistency between both homes. Children fare best when Mom and Dad agree on basic parenting issues and don’t contradict one another from home to home.  If you do have differing rules, talk to your children about the differences, explain your own reasons for your parenting style, and never put down their other parent – even if you don’t agree with their values.  Your children will learn to adapt to the differences in their parents if you don’t make a big deal about those issues.

Never forget that you will be a parent to your children for the rest of your life – and so will their other parent.  As hard as this can be sometimes, try to keep that perspective and focus on ways to work together with the other parent and join forces whenever possible.  Your children will be the one who benefit from this in the long term and will remember how much you love and care for them.

  1. Jaypee says:

    When me and my wife separated through divorce, we had no choice but to settle arrangements when it comes to co-parenting. We have 2 young kids and we don’t want them to suffer just because we needed to part ways. So me and my ex-wife are working hand in hand to take care of the kids. My wife also bought co-parenting planner/organizer from which really is of big help in this process. Hopefully we’ll get things flowing smoothly as planned. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  2. Lori Paul says:

    Thank you for checking out my blawg. I am happy to hear that you and your wife are putting your children first and working out a plan that works for everyone. Keep up the good work!

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