Once you and your former partner separate from or divorce one another, you will need to come to an agreement of how you plan to raise any children you share. A parenting plan is a written document that dictates how you and your former partner plan to raise your shared child now that you no longer live with one another, and there are numerous areas such a plan can address.
Why is creating a parenting plan so important? Once you and your former spouse or partner agree on the tenets of the parenting plan, and you sign off on it and file it in court, its terms are enforceable. Therefore, you can prevent considerable discord down the line by setting standards with regard to parenting time, finances and so on early on. Just what types of matters might you and your former partner address in a parenting plan?
A summary of responsibilities
Arguably one of the most important elements of a parenting plan is the section that details each parent's responsibilities to the child. In addition to outlining the terms of whatever custody arrangement you and your one-time partner agreed upon, the parenting plan might also cover what you plan to do as far as holidays and vacations. You may also want to include information in this section that dictates how you two plan to handle pickups and drop-offs.
You may also want to use your parenting plan to outline who is responsible for certain expenses as far as your child is concerned. For example, if he or she plays sports or studies a musical instrument, it may serve you well to outline who is responsible for paying for what.
Often, parents find it beneficial to include language in their parenting plans that dictates how they plan to make decisions regarding medical care. You may want to stipulate, for example, that you two must confer with one another before making healthcare-related decisions.
While these are some of the key elements many parenting plans consider, please note that there are numerous other areas you can also cover in such an agreement.