Divorcing parents are both worried about creating strong, independent futures and building the best environment for their children. This often requires a comprehensive parenting plan to help parents avoid future disputes and agree to numerous compromises in advance. Unfortunately, several omissions or mistakes can pile up and lead to a disjointed agreement.
There are numerous common factors that parents must remember when attempting to create an efficient plan, including:
- Account for custody exchange contingencies: While the custody exchange might seem like a straightforward process, numerous factors can throw an unexpected wrinkle in the plan. From weather problems to work responsibilities, it is wise to discuss certain contingencies in case of emergency. From listing trusted proxies to suggesting alternate locations, the parenting plan is a place the couple can cover acceptable changes.
- Preferred communication methods: Even though the divorcing couple might have a good idea of their former partner’s preferences, it is wise to discuss them in the parenting plan. One partner might prefer a quick phone call for important communication while another might prefer text-based communication such as an email or a text message.
- Discuss potential travel restrictions: The parenting plan will often focus on the child’s holiday schedule, but it is also important to discuss vacations. While it is impossible to list and discuss plans years in advance, this is the perfect time for parents to discuss the possibility for out-of-state or international travel.
- Punishment at both homes: Like travel plans, it is impossible to note every potential rule infraction or punishment that will be handed out in coming years. However, in the parenting plan, the parents can discuss punishment as in how it is communicated, what types of punishments are acceptable and how they will be accomplished in both homes.
Due to changing circumstances and significant life events, it is unlikely that a divorcing couple can create the perfect parenting plan. However, it is possible to avoid numerous mistakes and omissions that can lead to heated debates in the future. It is wise to thoroughly examine any trouble spots and parental disagreements to reach a compromise in the parenting plan.