Regardless of whether co-parents are getting a divorce or have never been married, a parenting plan will be put in place outlining a number of important issues, including child custody arrangements. A parenting plan is an agreement setting forth details and parameters of the co-parenting arrangement. While parenting plans can be quite general, the more specifics addressed in the plan, the more likely the parenting plan is to be effective at fostering clear communication between the co-parents, ensuring all parenting rights and responsibilities are respected, and protecting the best interests of the child.
Creating an Effective Parenting Plan
To create an effective parenting plan, the devil really is in the details. Be specific and you will most certainly thank yourself later. Details are key to setting clear expectations for how you and your co-parent are going to work to ensure the needs of your child are met and your parenting obligations fulfilled. For instance, specifics regarding the child care schedule will help you and your co-parent know who will be taking care of the child what days and times. In an effective parenting plan, you should also address:
- When the child we picked up and dropped off
- Where the child we be picked up and dropped off
- Who will have the child on which holidays
An effective parenting plan should also address health care matters including who is responsible for arranging doctor’s appointments and dentist appointments. How will you and your co-parent make decisions regarding routine medical care or emergency treatments? This should also be included in the parenting plan.
Your parenting plan should also set forth important information about your child’s education. What school will they go to? Who will attend school conferences and events? Can either parent take the child out of school for the day? Who will handle the cost of education, including extracurricular activities?
You should also consider including a section in your parenting plan about how you and your co-parent will communicate. No matter how well-established your parenting plan may be, there is likely to be some curve balls thrown your way. In this case, at some point, you and your co-parent will need to communicate. How will you do so? Detail whether communications will be inclusive or limited to phone, email, or in-person. You should also specify how you will keep track of your children’s schedule. Some co-parents like to do this through a virtual calendar. Others prefer a written calendar.
The best parenting plans are both specific and flexible. It provides details on important information and includes a way co-parents should resolve any conflicts should they arise. A parenting plan will be subject to court approval. In reviewing the parenting plan, the court will look to see that you have essentially planned to support and foster the best living arrangement for your child.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
Need help developing a strong and effective parenting plan? The trusted family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou is here to help. Contact us today.