Going through a divorce or separation is hard enough, but when there are children involved, it can become even more complicated. Co-parenting is not an easy task, but it is possible when parents have a cooperative and constructive relationship.
When Michigan couples part ways, conflict about how parental rights and parenting time is not uncommon. Many couples find that parenting plans can be a solution to this problem. An effective parenting plan can reduce conflict by establishing a schedule for time-sharing and outlining parental rights and responsibilities.
Six points to consider when writing a parenting plan
A parenting plan should be tailored to each family’s unique situation. To get started with a parenting plan, consider the following points of discussion:
- Parenting schedule. The plan sets out where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent.
- Transportation. It is essential to be clear about who is responsible for the children’s transportation between the households, school, daycare or activities.
- Child sitters. There should be an understanding of who will take care of the children when neither parent is available. Many parents find it useful to have a mutual list of sitters.
- Transitions. Consistency with rules between homes can make the transition between homes easier. Similar rules about respect, daily routines, electronics and homework can make it easier to manage behavior.
- Unexpected costs. Child support is often included in divorce agreements, but there are additional expenses that it does not cover. Child-related costs can be divided in a variety of ways, depending on the situation.
- Special events. It’s not uncommon for vacations and holidays to interrupt parenting plans. For this reason, it’s important to figure out how to handle things like birthdays, holidays, family events and vacations.
The most essential element of a parenting plan is that it reflects the children’s needs and interests. A strong parenting plan can help establish a predictable and consistent schedule for children of divorced or separated families.