The main focus of a parenting plan should be for the care, well-being and development of the child. As a result, a focus on the best interests of the child, rather than the needs of the parents is imperative. For many parents, it can be a task of inconvenience considering everything else that is happening with their pending divorce. It is not uncommon for the parents to lose sight of the purpose of the parenting plan. An enforcement of and adherence to a parenting plan is based on the child’s best interest and welfare.
Decisions should be made based on what is best for the child, rather than what fits best into the parent’s schedules. They may also want to think about how far they will live from each other, as that is the first thing to consider before you can make any decision on any issue regarding the child. In addition, parents must realize that in their life prior to divorce, parents had the option to rearrange their schedules and plans on a whim. After the divorce, they will no longer have that option, so whatever agreements they come to, they must be honored.
Breaking an agreement on the parenting plan affects not only your spouse, but also your child. The manner in which it is written must also be for long term practicality. The child will not remain the same age forever, and as they grow, their lifestyles and activities will change. Parents must consider this also when developing a parenting plan. A child’s life in unpredictable and addressing all of the issues and situations that may arise throughout their life, in a single parenting plan, is often impossible.
With everything that parents must keep in mind when developing a parenting plan, it may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, parents can turn to many different sources for assistance. For those parents who are developing a parenting plan for the first time, they may find a parenting plan template helpful in guiding them through some of the more important issues and some of the less thought about issues.
Some of the more common issues addressed in a parenting plan include where the child will live and which parent the child will live with, the amount of time that the child will spend with each parent, the amount of time that the child will spend with their extended families on both the maternal and paternal side, which parent will help the child with homework and other daily activities and whether the parents can both attend important events, how to share parental responsibilities of big decisions educational and health care arrangements for special occasions and holidays, how to keep in touch with the other parent when the child is not with them, how to agree on long term issues that may arise as the child gets older, how to deal with circumstances that may change for either parent or child, and the agreement on a process to resolve any changes that may be made in the parenting plan.
This last issue is very important, as it serves as a catch-all for all the unforeseen circumstances that may come about in the future as the child continues to grow. Some issues that parents may forget to include are where to stow the child’s belongings. Also, both parents must consider how they will split transportation for the child for different events.