A parenting plan is a detailed document outlining your approach to parenting. Some people will focus solely on the division of parenting time when negotiating a parenting plan, but there are many other terms that are equally important as the overall way that you split time with your children.
In addition to discussing your general scheduling rules, there are several other matters that parents should address in their parenting plan for optimal success with their shared custody arrangements.
Rules and expectations for the children
You can expect that your children will act out a bit during or after your divorce. Even the best-behaved child will have an emotional response to parental divorce and may allow their studies to backslide or become belligerent toward their parents.
You can plan ahead for these conflicts by establishing rules and standards that you intend to enforce. From what grades the children need to achieve if they want to participate in extracurricular activities to how long they can spend on the internet after school every day, you and your ex can have the same rules and standards so that everything is consistent for the children.
Rules and expectations for the parents
How do you want your ex to communicate with you about the children? What is the right way to make adjustments to your schedule when something changes?
You can include expectations and rules for one another in your parenting plan. Having guidelines for communication and conflict resolution is particularly important, as inevitably you will disagree about something in the future. You can plan for success by creating a framework to resolve those issues before they ever arrived.
The family approach to holidays and special events
Few things will lead to conflicts between parents and disappointment among the children more quickly than botched holiday plans or parents arguing over who will attend a soccer tournament. Having rules already in place about how you will handle special events and celebrations for your children will make it easier for your whole family to enjoy my special days when they occur.
Including the right terms in your parenting plan will make shared custody easier for your family to manage after a divorce.