Now that you and your child’s other parent have decided to go your separate ways, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to make your new co-parenting arrangements work. By crafting your parenting plan together, you can set mutually-agreeable terms that will work for your family.
Note that if you could use some help figuring out how to set effective standards for your parenting time, you can always speak with a lawyer. Otherwise, if you and your co-parent can draft a mutually-agreeable outline, an attorney can simply help you to formalize it and finalize it with the court. If you are unable to reach an agreement, a judge will need to settle your differences and will likely compel you to follow a standard parenting plan format.
Setting workable expectations
As with any child custody concern, you’ll want to keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of your mind as you construct your parenting time plan. With that said, you won’t be able to serve your child well if you set expectations that are either unreasonable or unmanageable for you and your co-parent.
Generally speaking, it’s best to create expectations that are stable and predictable and will allow everyone to have a clear idea of what their rights and responsibilities are. Everyone involved will want to be able to plan and hold each other reasonably accountable for breaches of the terms you’ve chosen.
Yet, you’ll also want to make sure that these terms are flexible enough that you and your co-parent aren’t in constant danger of breaching your commitments to each other and your child. For example, consider stating that one parent will be responsible for school pickups, not that the parent will personally pick their child up every day at 3 pm. This kind of flexibility allows for the ordinary events of life that happen.
By carefully considering how to make your parenting plan truly manageable, you’ll be better positioned to avoid predictable tensions that could cause in-fighting down the road.