Co-parenting your child with an ex can be an overwhelming challenge. However, understand that in most cases, it gets easier as time goes by and everyone adjusts to a new normal.
This transition can be a little easier to make if you have in place a fair, agreeable parenting plan to guide you. In order to create an agreement that works for you and prioritizes the well-being of your child, you will want to consider including the following critical elements in your parental agreement.
Limitations on communication
It is easier than ever for parents and kids to stay connected. While this can be a very good thing for parents who share custody, excessive or disruptive communication can have a negative influence on the situation.
Avoid this by setting clear boundaries for communication. What are the acceptable forms? How often will calls take place? Who can initiate the contact?
Clear explanations of parenting time
The custody schedule is one of the most important pieces of a parenting plan. You should specify where a child will be during weekdays, weekends and holidays. Also include information on summer vacations or any other periods where the regular schedule might change.
Directions for resolving disputes
You can prevent disputes from spiraling out of control by deciding ahead of time how to resolve them. Will you work through them with mediation? Will you defer to a child’s counselor to determine what is in your child’s best interests? What, if any, role will your child’s opinion play in dispute resolution?
Other items to consider
Your parenting plan needs to work for you and provide the guidance you need to co-parent more successfully. Because of this, you may want to include a variety of other items, including guidance on religious education and/or specifications on approved contact with other family members.
To ensure your parenting plan works for you and is enforceable, it would be wise to consult an attorney before agreeing to anything. With legal support, you can be confident that your parenting plan is in your child’s best interests while also preserving your parental rights.