Around half of marriages today end in divorce, many of them involving children. If you’re trying to figure out a copacetic parenting plan in the midst of your separation, you’re not alone.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be hard on you or the child’s co-parent. By establishing a parenting plan and working out a schedule ahead of time, you can minimize the potential for conflict down the line.
Read on for our guide to making a parenting plan you both can agree on.
Agree on a Parenting Plan
When you’re trying to establish a copacetic routine for raising a child separately between two parents, it’s essential to have the same general concept of how you will be raising the child. Factors such as religion, curfews, and general rules should be the same between the two of you. If they’re not, you could end up with a very confused parenting plan.
Discuss your values and goals for your parenting plan ahead of time. Try to enter with an open mind and compromise if necessary. At the end of the day, it’s all about what’s best for the child involved.
Establish a Consistent Schedule
Once you’re on the same page regarding the parenting plan for your child, the next step is to work out a concrete schedule. Decide which parent will get custody for how long and when. You will also have to figure out whether joint custody is best for your situation, or if the child will live primarily with one parent.
Depending on the age of the child, different circumstances will affect this schedule. For instance, if you have a baby, you want to be sure each parent plays a part in daily care, as this is a crucial time for creating a bond. If you are dealing with older children, school schedules and extracurricular activities may affect your timetable as well.
Work Out Holidays and Vacations in Your Parenting Plan
When you’re establishing the visitation schedule of your parenting plan, be sure you’re considering how you’ll handle holidays and vacations. It’s best to have it all scheduled ahead of time in order to avoid any surprises or conflicts.
Here are some general guidelines to help you create a copacetic parenting plan for holidays and vacations:
- Discuss any vacations you have planned that may interfere with your schedule. You may want to make up the lost time on the other parent’s end by taking it out of the time you are normally scheduled to have the child. For instance, if your vacation is during a week where your co-parent is supposed to have custody, discuss another week that they can have in order to keep the schedule equal.
- If possible, try to split up holidays so the child can spend time with both families. If this isn’t possible, then come up with an alternative schedule that you both can agree on.
Working out a parenting plan between two parents that aren’t together can make holidays and vacations difficult to navigate. However, if you compromise and do your best to keep things fair, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Consider Special Circumstances
As much as you try to work a concrete schedule into your parenting plan, there may be special circumstances that interfere. Try your best to consider all possible outliers and how you’ll face them if they happen.
Here are just a few special circumstances to consider when making your parenting plan:
- Plan what you’ll do if you’d like the child to attend any funerals, weddings, birthday parties, or other special family events.
- Decide where the child will stay if they are sick or injured.
- Figure out your plan if one parent is unable to take the child during their normally scheduled visit.
In most cases, you’ll want to add a day on the other parent’s schedule to make up for lost time if these circumstances occur. However, you may have other ideas regarding how to handle it. As long as you can reach an agreement, you should be ready for whatever comes up.
Outline Rules and Boundaries
When you’re coming up with a parenting plan to raise a child, it’s important to honor the rules and boundaries of both parents involved. This eliminates confusion and resentment, keeping you both on the same team regardless of your separation or divorce.
For instance, if there are certain friends and family members that one parent does not want watching the child, this should be addressed. There may also be some individuals that either parent deems a bad influence for the child. In either case, these concerns must be respected and honored by both parents involved.
Figure Out Transportation
When you’re working with a parenting plan that involves exchanging a child back and forth, you’ll need to factor in your methods of transportation.
Once your time comes to have the child, will you be picking them up, or will the other parent be dropping them off? You may want to establish something consistent to make things easier, especially if you prefer not having to work things out the day of.
If you prefer not to meet at each other’s homes, that’s perfectly okay. Just establish a place where you’ll both meet in order to exchange the child. Or, you could work out one parent picking up the child from school or other activities.
Work Out Finances
It’s no secret that having children is expensive: in fact, it’s estimated that it can cost upwards of $17,000 per year. When you’re coming up with a parenting plan that works for both of you, figure out how you’ll deal with the expenses that are bound to come up.
For instance, who will buy school supplies, pay for music lessons, and otherwise support the interests your child may have? In most cases, you won’t want one parent paying for everything and hoping the other will pay them back.
Splitting up the custody of a child doesn’t have to be a constant battle. If you are both on the same page regarding your parenting plan and schedule, you can minimize conflicts and ensure you’re always doing what’s best for the child involved.
If you need help reaching an agreement, we can help. Contact us today for legal assistance regarding setting up a copacetic parenting plan.