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Points that should become part of your parenting plan

If you and your spouse face a divorce, mediation or negotiation outside of court to determine your custody and parenting plan may save time, money and stress for everyone in the family.

Writing down your thoughts about child custody that you and the other parent will discuss is an important preliminary step. Here are topics to include in your plan.

Child custody and visitation matters

Allocation of parental responsibilities is the term that refers to child custody and visitation matters in the state of Colorado. Custody arrangements include sole custody, joint custody and split custody. If you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot agree on the terms of a parenting plan, the court will step in and make decisions in the best interests of your children.

Important parenting plan matters

Every parenting plan is unique, but there are five important aspects to include:

  • Custody schedule, including division of holiday and vacation time
  • Decision-making responsibilities, including those related directly to child care
  • Communication methods between the parents and between parents and children
  • Transportation plan, including transporting children between homes, to school, to extracurricular activities, appointments and more
  • Day-to-day child-raising approaches, such as discipline, chores and allowance

Potential areas for error

Make sure that the completed parenting plan is clear and easy to follow, and avoid vague language. A misinterpretation could lead to conflict or even litigation.

Do not leave out details such as how you want to handle both current and future medical and dental care for the children. Also include any travel restrictions you have in mind, such as requiring permission from the other parent before taking children out of the country.

Remember to include set times for you and the other parent to review the plan and make necessary revisions. Flexibility is good, but permanent changes require a modification. Finally, describe how you will address and resolve future disputes concerning the raising of your children in a post-divorce world.

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