Divorced parents in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area will need to work together to create a parenting plan. While some plans are very simple and focus only on parenting time, more detailed ones that anticipate areas of possible conflict can be very helpful in guiding parents to work together to raise their children.
What should you include in a parenting plan?
The basis of the parenting plan will be the parenting time schedule. The plan will outline when the child will be with each parent as well as any information related to exchanges, holidays and special days. However, for a parenting plan to truly work for everyone, it should include other information, such as:
- How decisions related to educational, extracurricular activities and social events will be made
- How religious upbringing will be addressed
- How health concerns will be handled
- How issues such as chores, routines and discipline matters will be decided
- Which parent will hold important documents such as passports and medical records
Additionally, parents might want to include even more delicate matters, such as an agreement about how and when new significant others will be introduced to the kids or how the children’s relationships with their extended family members will be supported by the parents. A great parenting plan should also include how the parents will communicate with each other and even set some parameters on how they can work to resolve conflicts that come up later.
What should you consider before drafting a parenting plan?
Since parenting plans begin by focusing on the parenting schedule, parents will need to consider their individual work and personal schedules as well as the children’s school and extracurricular schedules. As well, they will need to think about the children’s health needs and concerns. Because many of these factors change over time, parents will also need to be flexible and open towards revising the plan periodically.