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What matters can you address in a parenting plan?

The co-parenting relationship is often a complex one, and if you count yourself among the many people across California who are coming to terms with new custody arrangements, you may be feeling the strain. You may, however, find that you can help make the relationship between you and your child’s other parent an easier, less contentious one if the two of you can sit down and hash out the details of a parenting plan.

Per Psychology Today, a parenting plan is a document that outlines the terms both parents agree to with regard to caring for the son or daughter they have together. While the areas addressed in a parenting plan can vary considerably based on, say, the age of the child or whether that child has special needs, many co-parents find it improves their co-parenting relationship when their plans address several distinct areas.

For example, in addition to outlining whatever custody arrangement you and your co-parent have in place (joint custody or what have you), your parenting plan can set forth agreed-upon guidelines for how you plan to handle major holidays, summer vacations and so on. You can also use the parenting plan to include language pertaining to who is responsible for transporting the child back and forth between homes, if it serves you to do so.

Many parents also find that they can help reduce the strain on their co-parenting relationship by including clear information about parental responsibilities. For example, parenting plans can outline who pays for private school, college, extracurriculars and the like. These documents can also delve into what types of decisions parents can make regarding their children without having to confer with the other parent, and vice-versa.

While this information about the common elements many co-parents include in their parenting plans seeks to inform you, it is not a comprehensive list of all areas you may be able to address, nor is it a substitute for legal advice.

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