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What to include in your parenting plan

Transitioning from living with your spouse and children in one home to having your children travel back and forth between you and your ex’s space is an adjustment, but there are steps you can take to help streamline the process. One such step involves creating a parenting plan, which is essentially a written agreement between two parents that sets guidelines and determinations in any number of areas with the hope of avoiding conflict later on.

Just what should you include in your parenting plan? There is no single answer to this question because the contents of parenting plans vary broadly from one family to the next. However, there are certain areas that many parents choose to cover in their parenting plans:

Information about living arrangements

Most parenting plans include information about who is to have the children and when. Yours might include information about general custody, and it may also make distinctions about who is to get the children on holidays and birthdays, what is to happen over summer vacations, and so on.

Transportation agreements

You may also find it helpful to include information in your parenting plan about how you and your ex plan to handle pick-ups and drop-offs, whether when traveling from one another’s homes, traveling from school or what have you. If you and your ex live in separate states and have young children, you may also want to include information on your parenting plan about car seat expectations and requirements, as they can differ from one state to the next.

Babysitter considerations

Some former couples also choose to include information in their parenting plans about who is to watch the children in the event that the parent who has them in his or her care is unavailable to do so. For example, your parenting plan may name a certain person to call in such a situation, or it may stipulate that one parent is to call the other parent first anytime he or she is unable to watch the kids his or herself.

These are just some of the many considerations and agreements you may choose to outline in your parenting plan. Getting the things you agreed on in writing may prevent serious animosity between you and your ex down the line.

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