A well-written parenting plan that contains a lot of forward-looking agreements can help you and your ex-spouse avoid a lot of conflicts — and that’s the goal! You don’t want to constantly find yourself back in court because you forgot to address something important.
The experts say that there are some areas of potential parental conflict that are commonly overlooked in the average parenting plan. With that in mind, here are some things yours should address:
- How much autonomy does each parent enjoy in their own home regarding the kids? Do you and your spouse want to keep “house rules” consistent between your homes when it comes to things like your children’s diets, bed times, homework and chores, or do you each prefer to manage things your own way?
- Who controls where a child’s possessions end up? If you buy your kids clothes, do they need to bring those back with them when they’re done with the visit to their other parent? Is it your child’s call where they keep things? Will you simply trade items back and forth as needed?
- What happens when someone is sick? If your child is sick, you don’t want to make them move around for visitation — but you also don’t want to miss out on your parenting time. Similarly, if you’re sick, you don’t want to spread anything to your child, but you still want to protect your visitation rights. Decide now how to handle the issue, before it’s a problem.
- How will new partners be introduced? How soon is “too soon” to introduce the kids to a new partner? Is it okay to let them meet the people you date, or should you wait until the relationship gets serious?
- What happens when there’s a big event? If your mother is coming into town for the first time in years, you don’t want to deny her the privilege of seeing the kids — but that could get complicated if it’s your ex-spouse’s turn for visitation. How can you and your ex work out these conflicts in the schedule?
It’s hard to think of all these details for your parenting plan yourself, but you can get some help. An attorney with family law experience can offer you some invaluable assistance.