Couples with kids can face many challenges during the divorce process. There are so many important factors to consider, and each one of them is equally as important as the next. From deciding custody arrangements to visitation times, making decisions can be stressful, especially if you and your ex-spouse aren’t on good terms.

One key factor divorcing parents must consider is creating a parenting plan. In Florida, parenting plans are required for all divorce cases that include minor children and time-sharing between the parents, meaning that both parents will continue to be in the child’s life. If you and your ex-spouse don’t agree on a parenting plan, then a court will create one for you.

To have the most effective parenting place in place for you, your child, and your ex, you should consider working together. Here are a four tips to remember as you build your plan:

  • Make a schedule. You and your ex-partner will now be sharing time with your child. It’s crucial that you create a schedule that works for both of you and keeps your child’s needs in mind as well. Your schedule should make it clear who will be responsible for your child at any given time. Don’t forget holidays either – who will have the kids over Christmas or summer break?
  • Each parent’s responsibilities. You should agree on how to help your child grow. By making your parenting responsibilities clear, you will know what is expected of each other and how your decisions will help your child’s development. You can also layout if one or both of you will cover school-related situations and healthcare matters.
  • Determine how parents will communicate. Communication is key when it comes to time-sharing and co-parenting. You must be on the same page with your ex-spouse, regardless of your personal feelings. Put your grievances aside and be flexible and open with your ex. You can include steps to help both of you make it through a disagreement as well as determine your ideal choice of communication, such as strictly using email, text, or phone calls.
  • Listen to your children. Your children can have a voice in your parenting plans. Of course, not all the decisions should be up to them, but including your children in making simple decisions can help them not feel left out.

Making a parenting plan can be a difficult undertaking. With so many things to consider, you might feel completely overwhelmed. If you and your ex-spouse are struggling with finalizing your plans, consider consulting with a family law attorney. They can help you focus and make the decisions that will best benefit your family.