What should you put in your parenting plan?

Going through a divorce is difficult enough and when you bring children into the mix, things can get even more complicated. If you intent to split custody with your ex, creating a parenting plan should be a top priority, but these can be complex.

Parenting plans are a crucial part of joint custody and there are many elements you will want to consider when creating one. What are the most important parts of a parenting plan?


One of the more critical parts of creating a parenting plan is crafting the schedule. If you intend to split custody, having a set schedule for where your kids should be and when is important.

You will need to decide what days of the week your children should stay with you, including on weekends and holidays. You may also want to consider vacation times and school breaks when deciding who will have custody of your children and when.


As a parent you need to make many decisions regarding your children’s lives. This can include choices about education, religion and medical care. You can elect to make these decisions together, or have sole responsibility of decision-making, depending on your circumstances.

This aspect of your parenting plan is not only restricted to important or life-changing decisions such as where your children will go to school or what doctor they see. It can also include smaller choices such as where they get their haircut.


Communication is another key part of a parenting plan, and your children’s lives. You may want to set boundaries for when and how your children communicate with you and your ex. For example, you may not want your kids to constantly video-chat with your ex while they are with you. You can outline times and methods of communication in a part of your parenting plan.

You should also determine how you want to communicate with your children’s other parent. Figuring out what works best, what you need to discuss, how often and when can help make co-parenting a smoother experience. You can make these decisions in your parenting plan, too.


Money is another important part of everyone’s lives. If you have a child-support agreement, this part of parenting may already be partially or fully dictated. If not, however, you may still need to figure out how to divide costs of parenting.

This can include necessities such as food, clothing and medical care as well as non-essentials like after-school activities and entertainment. In your parenting plan, you can determine how these costs will be divided and how they should be paid.

Getting through the initial parts of your divorce is tough, but the work does not stop there. You want your children to be well-taken care of and happy. A parenting plan is an essential part of that after a divorce occurs and child custody is determined.

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