There’s no doubt that being a divorcee and having children with your ex-partner, parenting can be a difficult task to do. Factors such as awkward or hostile exchanges between your ex-partner, living in another household from your children are some of the factors that get in the way of doing your job as a good parent to your children. That’s why, for the sake of your children especially if they are still very young, it’s important to take aside your issues with your ex-partner and plan a good parenting arrangement with each other, and swear to be open to communicating with each other regarding your children’s overall wellbeing. Read the article to know how to create a parenting care plan.
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What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a formal written document that lists down the agreement of the commitments that both separated or divorced couples made in regards to how they intend to raise their children. you’ve made with your ex-partner regarding how you intend to raise your children. Some states require separated couples to create a parenting plan as part of the child custody agreement.
How to Create a Parenting Care Plan
1. Put First Your Children’s Best Interests
The first thing to prioritize as a parent is to think of your children’s best interest. It should include the most critical aspects of their lives such as their physical and emotional needs. Some examples of their needs are having shelter, food, clothing, mobility, exercise, rest, medical care, protection from harm, maintaining stable relationships with both parents, handling their temperament, etc.
You also need to specify a few aspects that concern your children greatly, such as working out the distance between parents’ homes, distance from each home to school and other relevant locations, and the work schedules of each parent. Some parents may also consider their child’s particular wishes when gauging their best interests. Their age and developmental stage often impact how much weight their wishes come into play.
2. Make a Parenting Schedule
A parenting schedule helps you and your children and your ex-partner have a routine that you can follow and give you and your children how much time they will be spending with each of their parents so it’s important to create a schedule that will work for your family so you can stick to it religiously.
Plot your schedule according to both of your availability and your children’s need to spend time with each parent. You can do a 50-50 time split so you and your ex-partner can have equal time with your children. However, if this arrangement is not for you, you can work out other schedules such as living with an extended period with each parent. Don’t forget to overlook special dates and holidays in your schedule as well.
3. Make a Plan on How to Stay Connected
Determine how you and your ex-partner will stay in touch and share updates about your children. You can send messages or daily phone calls to check in with your children’s situations. This will help you stay up to date with each children’s concerns and achievements and behavior so you both know how to handle them and their whims. This will also help you both create plans and decisions for your children for their best interests.
4. Decide on Who Will Handle Decisions
Create a plan on how you will handle major life decisions such as education, medical care, religious practice, emergencies, etc. for your children. Outline a plan on how you will communicate on these matters to move forward and create a decision that is best for your children.
5. Agree on Finances Arrangement
Have a plan on how you two will handle the costs of raising your children. Each of you has a responsibility to your child’s finances to some degree. Keep a log of child-related expenses to document any expenses made for your children to know how much each parent is spending on their children. This will help both to know how much will they be expected to spend on their children and divide the parenting responsibilities of each parent.
What are some examples of must-have terms in a parenting care plan?
Your parenting care plan must have the following terms that you and your ex-partner should agree on:
- Residential or visitation schedule
- Schedule of parenting time over the holidays or birthdays
- Visitation transportation arrangements and drop-off arrangements
- Anticipated changes to the schedule
- Child care arrangements
- Plans for maintaining relationships with extended family members
- Guidelines for introducing the children to either parent’s dating partners
What is the difference between a parenting plan and a parenting order?
The difference between a parenting plan and a parenting order is that a parenting order is enforced by a court to parents to do their parental duties and a parenting plan is a document made between parents to strategize how they will bring up their children in the best possible way even if they’re living separate lives.
Make sure that you and your ex-partner try your hardest to cooperate and work on agreeing with each other’s parental roles and responsibilities. Be open about thinking of different scenarios that may happen and decide how you’re going to handle those together. Aim your goals on creating a flexible co-parenting partnership to boost a healthy relationship between you and your children together. To help you get started making the contract, download our free sample templates above to use as your guide!
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