News & Tips

Essential Elements of Effective Parenting Plans

Deciding to divorce isn’t easy, and can be even more difficult for parents. Know that there are specific steps you can take to ease the burden on you, your ex, and your kids. When you are trying to navigate the tricky waters of post-split child custody matters, anticipating your needs for a parenting plan can simplify things. A parenting plan is an important part of making sure that your children’s best interests are protected.

In Missouri, parenting plans set out how you and your ex will execute visitation, holidays, and major decision making for children, including health care, education, and communication, just to name a few. Some parties may even choose to set out conflict resolution procedures in the future and how discipline issues are to be addressed. Each plan can be as unique as the family it serves, so don’t feel like you must adhere to a “standard” parenting plan.

It’s important to talk to your divorce attorney before agreeing to any parenting plan. At the Lowry Law Firm, we are dedicated to our clients, and our extensive experience in Jefferson County benefits each case. Contact us today for a free consultation about your divorce.

Health Care

The medical care and dental care of your children is a top priority. Use the parenting plan to outline how you and your ex will make important decisions about the medical treatment of your children. Also, be specific about how you and your ex will notify each other if a medical emergency occurs. Detail how health and medical information will be shared.

Discipline

Most parents compromise on how to discipline their kids early in their shared parenthood journey. However, it’s important to revisit your views on discipline to make sure you and your ex are still on the same page. Be clear on what is and isn’t acceptable. Also, listen to your ex’s input on discipline. Compromise and put your agreement in writing as part of the parenting plan.

Discipline must be part of the parenting plan. Otherwise, you may find that your ex opts for a discipline method that you think is not effective or even unethical. In the plan, include the things that are most objectionable to you. Also, you may include details on what has proved to be effective for each child.

Scheduling

One of the practical and most used parts of the parenting plan will probably be the schedule of visitation. The plan should be specific in its description of residential arrangements and how far parents will live from each other. It should detail how the children move between the two homes and how the exchange is handled each week.

The parenting plan needs to include details about the drop-off and pick-up of children. It should detail agreements on the days of the week and times when the children go from one home to the other. It should even include specifics about the location of the exchange and how much notice is required to change a drop-off or pick-up.

Communication

One thing that you and your ex will consistently need is information. You’ll want regular updates on your children. In the parenting plan, detail how you and your ex will share information about each child. Depending on your kids and their individual needs, how you share information doesn’t have to be the same for each child.

If you and your ex communicate well over the phone, you may choose to have a daily phone call where you can openly share information about the kids. Try to have this conversation in private so children aren’t privy to any potential disagreements. If there is a lot of animosity, you may opt to send daily emails to one another where just the facts are shared.

Handling Conflict

It’s only natural to expect future conflicts. Use the parenting plan as a place where you can detail how those future conflicts will be handled. For example, if one parent wants to move away in the future, specify how any geographical changes will be handled. If one parent becomes ill, determine how you will agree on custody changes.

Finally, talk to your divorce attorney before agreeing to any parenting plan. At the Lowry Law Firm, we are dedicated to our clients, and our extensive experience in Jefferson County benefits each case. Contact us today for a free consultation about your divorce.

Leave a Reply