Constructing an Appropriate Parenting Plan

When you and your spouse decide to separate or divorce, some of the most important decisions you will make will be about your children. You and your spouse, with the assistance of your attorneys, will need to come up with a parenting plan that outlines several aspects of child care and custody. There are several items that are included in this plan, and its proper construction is essential. Here are just a few of the things that should be determined.

Time Schedule

A time schedule will be what decides which parent your children are with and when. Included in this schedule should be day-to-day activities, vacations and holidays. You may decide that one of you has the children during the school week and one on weekends. You may decide that your children are with one of you during the school year and the other during the summer and school holidays. Your attorneys will help you create a time schedule utilizing proper legal terms to ensure its clarity.

Parental Responsibility

Even if one of you has the children for the majority of the time, legal parental responsibility must still be designated. The parent with parental responsibility is the one who can make decisions for the child. More commonly, parents will share parental responsibility, meaning that each parent will have an influence on the decision made pertaining to the minor child. You will also want to include wording that dictates if one or both of you will have access to the child’s medical and school records.

Costs of Care

How will costs for the care of the children be divided? You will need to put the answer to that question in your parenting plan. If one of you will be providing medical insurance, that should be outlined. You may want to go so far as to include who will be responsible for choosing health care providers and how it will be done.


Children of certain ages participate in extracurricular activities. Who will transport the children? Who will attend? You should also determine who will pay school expenses such as fees and payments for activities. Know who will attend conferences and who will attend open houses.

First Refusal

The right of first refusal is an important thing to include in your parenting contract. What this means is that in the event that the parent who the child should be with needs a sitter, the other parent will be offered extra time with the child first. If that parent is otherwise engaged, the first parent will find a traditional babysitter.

Making these decisions may be the last thing you want to do as you are separating from your spouse, but they are important things to discuss if you have children. Structure and routine are important for your children during this stressful time.

If you need assistance constructing an appropriate and legal parenting plan in Orlando, reach out to our team of experienced child custody attorneys today. Your first consultation with a member of our team will be held at no cost to you.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.
Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.