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An effective parenting plan is vital for your family

When parents decide to separate, it completely changes the parenting dynamic. In most cases, parents reside in different households, and each has their own designated time with their children.

During a divorce or custody case, both parents usually want what is in their children's best interests. The tricky part is getting parties to agree regarding what that entails and putting an effective parenting plan into place.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan, also called a custody and visitation agreement, determines:

  1. Physical custody: How much time children will spend with parents and where they will live (custody and visitation time)
  2. Legal custody: How parents will make decisions regarding the education, health and welfare of their children

What makes a plan effective?

Your parenting plan will be most effective if it meets the unique needs of your children and family. A parenting plan can help to minimize conflict about shared parenting time. It also benefits children by giving them a set routine and quality relationships with each parent. An effective plan also can help parents to communicate more efficiently and care for their children as a team.

While drafting the plan, ask whether it:

  • Accounts for your children's need for a healthy diet, excellent medical care and enough sleep, as well as their basic need for love, protection and guidance
  • Adjusts to your children's needs based on their ages, personalities, abilities and experiences
  • Provides your kids with a consistent, predictable schedule, smooth transitions between parents and a sense of security
  • Gives children regular, consistent times with both parents, considering daily care, overnight visits, school work, extracurricular activities, vacations and holidays
  • Includes specific times and locations for exchanges between parents, as well as who will provide transportation
  • Provides enough detail to be able to easily understand and enforce

An effective parenting plan can help ensure that your children's needs and best interests are met and can assist parents in establishing a good working relationship in the future.

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