18 Oct What’s Included In A Co-Parenting Plan After A Divorce Mediation
A “co-parenting plan” is a written document outlining how two divorced parents will raise their children. The co-parenting plan should be devised first and foremost with your children’s wellbeing in mind. It should detailing a custody schedule which indicates the amount of time each parent will have with their child on a routine basis. It may also detail how decisions regarding your children’s life will be handled between you and your ex-spouse. Writing down what should be expected is a great start to a successful co-parenting plan and can help as a reference as family circumstances change or if parental disputes do occur.
The Key To A Successful Co-Parenting Plan
All aspects of a written co-parenting plan should focus mainly on one goal – maintaining your children’s wellbeing. In a healthy co-parenting plan, children should routinely see both parents in order to maintain a positive relationship with them. The plan should also discuss how to keep children away from any parental disputes.
It’s important to remember that every family is different, and therefore there is no “best” co-parenting plan. Your plan should tailor to your family’s unique circumstances. Some of these particular circumstances may include your children’s age, their developmental needs, their school schedules, your work schedules, schedules for holidays and vacations, the distance between you and your ex-spouse’s homes, and any of your children’s health concerns. Pickup locations and times should be detailed in the co-parenting agreement for routine schedules as well as holiday schedules. When two parents can accommodate each other comfortably, they may not have to follow the plan to the T. But where there may be some conflict, being specific with a plan that takes said conflict into account and following it closely is important.
Agreements That May Make A Co-Parenting Plan Healthier For Your Children
1) A statement that initiates the agreement, stating that both parents will share parenting responsibilities/important decision-making for your children should be detailed. If both parents have respect for each other’s parenting style, they should agree not to criticize each on another’s parenting style. Parents should also agree never to harm the relationship with their children and their ex-spouse – whether it’s by enabling their children’s negative feelings for the other parent or actively influencing their children to develop negative feelings for the other parent.
2) A statement about sharing parental responsibilities, in which parents agree to discuss factors that affect the wellbeing of their children, should be written in the plan. Parents should be able to discuss their children’s education, health, and religious upbringing. They should both have access to medical and school records and should agree to this on paper. The written plan should also detail that each parent has both the right and responsibility for making day-to-day decisions for their children when they have custody.
3) Specifics regarding overnight stays, routine time and activity time should be stated on the plan. You may want to consider writing into your co-parenting plan that if certain circumstances arise making a change to the plan necessary that last minute changes are fine so long as both parties agree.
4) Details about holidays, special days, and observances should be stated on the plan. Sometimes, holiday get-togethers change around from year to year. It’s important that your children get to spend time with both your family and your ex-spouse’s. It may be a good idea to write in the co-parenting plan that when holiday get-togethers change, your plan can change temporarily for your children’s happiness.
5) It’s a good idea to include an “agreement time period”. Agree on when the co-parenting plan should be reexamined (ie. as your children grow older) and note this as a clause in your co-parenting plan. Revisions, or addendums may be necessary as your child grows older.
If you and your spouse are going through a divorce mediation and are happy to draft a co-parenting plan that has your children’s best interests in mind, we do encourage flexibility. These tips can help you devise a co-parenting plan that’s best for your children’s wellbeing.