Whether you have gotten divorced or had one or more children with an unmarried partner, you should consider what a parenting plan can do for your family. There will likely be areas of disagreement with your co-parent when it comes to raising your children, so addressing them now may be of benefit. Going forward without a plan increases the risk of chaos and possibly legal conflict with your co-parent.
There are some matters that you probably know to address in a parenting plan, such as establishing times for your children to live at your home and your co-parent’s residence. However, there may be some other issues you have not considered.
Concerns about safety and conduct
Keeping your children safe should be a high priority. Your parenting plan can address general safety topics and any specific safety concerns stemming from disabilities or behavioral issues one or more of your children may have.
According to Psychology Today, you should also consider your personal indulgences. You may enjoy a few drinks from time to time, but you do not want to consume alcohol during your time with your children or close to it. Think about establishing boundaries when it comes to alcohol or drug use for yourself and your co-parent.
Establishing rules about communication
There are bound to be matters not appropriate to discuss around your offspring. Your co-parent may not want you to discuss your personal life in front of your children, such as who are you going out with. Even if you have to bring up difficult issues with your children, there are ways to do so in a sensitive manner. Consider using your plan to establish methods and boundaries for your communications.
Establishing specific parental roles
When you are not living with your co-parent, there is bound to be confusion over which of you has a specific responsibility. If your children travel abroad, someone has to hold the passports. You may also want to be the liaison to your children’s doctor. Conversely, your co-parent might wish to be the one that talks to your children’s school. You may deal with all these questions in your parenting plan.
Parenting plans will differ across families, so do not feel that some issues are automatically off limits in your plan. If your family has specific needs, addressing it now may be preferable than letting the matter go unresolved until later.