A Parenting Plan Checklist

A Parenting Plan ChecklistWhen and your spouse are going through a divorce, taking care of every detail is important. Even if your divorce from your spouse is amicable – and congratulations on that – it’s still prudent to ensure you get everything done legally and formally for the safety of your children.

Matters of child custody can get complicated, even during a collaborative divorce where both spouses are willing to work together. Creating a mutually agreeable parenting plan can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible if you and your co-parent work together with your child’s best interests in mind.

Drafting your Columbia parenting plan

Your parenting plan will be your “map” to managing all sorts of parenting situations and issues as they arise post-divorce. A well-written and thought-out parenting plan should head off conflicts and ensure smooth communication between you and your co-parent. Parenting plans are part of your child custody agreement.

A parenting plan can include everything from important decisions about your child’s health down to what time your child eats dinner every night. It may seem like a lot of details, but remember that parenting plans are to maintain your child’s well being over everything else.

Parenting plan topics

  • Here are some examples of topics you shouldn’t miss when drafting a parenting plan with your co-parent. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and you should work with your family law attorney to ensure your family’s best interests are taken into account. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also has its own model for a parenting plan you may want to consider.
  • Parenting schedule. How will your kids divide time behind homes? How will you handle the transportation – ensure you plan the details for pickup and drop-off.
  • Important decisions. How will you and your co-parent make decisions about health care, discipline, school, and other important life decisions? Ensure these are outlined in your plan.
  • Holidays and school breaks. How will you split time with your children over holidays, breaks, and vacations? Consider working out a pattern so you can plan a few years into the future.
  • Travel and vacations. How far in advance should each parent plan trips? Who pays for airline tickets? Who can and cannot travel with the children?
  • Family and friends. How will the kids see and communicate with extended family and family friends? Are there certain people they shouldn’t have contact with?
  • Communicating schedule changes. How far in advance do you and your co-parent need to make schedule changes? How about in an emergency?
  • Finances. Who is responsible for your child’s costs of living? How will you share expenses? Even if the court rules on this, detail it in your plan.
  • Communication. How will both parents communicate with the kids when they’re not with them? Phone calls, texts, video chats? Choose what works best and plan for that. Don’t forget to decide how you and your co-parent will communicate with each other as well.

The Columbia family law attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA can help you work out a complete parenting plan that benefits your entire family. A well thought-out parenting plan can save you expensive hours in court later on down the road. Talk to one of our Howard County lawyers today. Call 443-812-1435 or fill out our contact form. We also maintain offices in Bethesda, Rockville and Fulton.