The co-parenting process is not always an easy one, but you may find that you and your ex manage the situation better when you have a parenting plan outlining the terms to which you agree. Most parenting plans accomplish two main objectives. First, they outline the times your child spends with each parent. Second, they outline the ways in which you plan to make decisions on your child’s behalf when you and your child’s other parent no longer live in the same home.
Every parenting plan is different, and most need updating as your child ages, or as his or her needs change. However, most parenting plans discuss similar matters. What matters should you consider addressing in your California parenting plan?
In addition to outlining your basic custody agreement, take things a step further in your parenting plan and cover how you plan to have your child split time on holidays, birthdays and summer vacations. It may help prevent conflicts to make this section as comprehensive as possible. For example, you may want to cover how you plan to move the child back and forth between homes. You may also want to discuss who handles taking the child to dance, baseball, orchestra or other extracurricular activities.
A parenting plan may also prevent future conflicts by giving you something to reference when making important decisions on your child’s behalf. You and your ex should discuss whether you have the right to make decisions about school, religion, health care and so on when your child is under your care, or whether you must come together to do so. You may also want to address whether your child, if age-appropriate, should hold down a job or pursue a driver’s license. Ultimately, the more thorough you are about who has decision-making power and when, the better the chances of maintaining a successful co-parenting relationship.