Checklist for Writing a Parenting Plan
If you have children and are going through a divorce, then writing a Parenting Plan for how you and your spouse will handle childcare issues is one of the most important things you can do right now. A written-out, agreed-upon parenting plan will improve communication and avoid a lot of conflicts down the road, and it will help give your children greater consistency and stability.
How to Write a Parenting Plan
When writing a parenting plan, you should include the following elements:
You need to work out a parenting agreement that determines if one parent will be the children’s primary caregiver, or if both parents will share the duties. You also need to work out if one or both parents will seek legal custody.
Regular Child Visitation Schedule
If you have chosen a shared child custody agreement, then you need to work out a schedule for visitations. Which days, weeks, or months will each parent have custody of the children? It is important to agree on co-parenting schedules, but you should write the agreement with a little wiggle room for you both, to accommodate the unexpected.
Special Occasion Visitation Schedule
You will also have to decide on who the children will share holidays and other special occasions with. These include things like birthdays, graduations. You might decide to change holidays yearly or have the children always spend the same holidays with the same parent.
You need to decide whether your children will be attending daycare, if appropriate, and also if they will be going to public or private schools.
Being single parents means that childcare will be more difficult in the future. Before problems arise, you should agree on child care providers who both parents trust.
You should also make provisions for your children’s healthcare coverage. Whose plan will cover the children? You should also work out an agreement for sharing premiums and copays.
Details of who is responsible for what part of your children’s college savings is also important. You should also work out how much money each parent is supposed to contribute to the savings plan, and how often.
Matters like using prescription medications, mental health care, and even cosmetic procedures should be included in the parenting plan. This may also include issues like diet and exercise.
A Parenting Plan may need to include information on communicate between parents and children. If the visitation rights of one parent are restricted, or if supervision during visits is required, then communication may have to be limited.
Extended Family Relationships
You may also want to include how relationships with the extended family on each side will be carried out. When will visits to grandparents, aunts, uncles and so forth be expected?
FAQ- How to Put Together a Parenting Plan Checklist
- A schedule showing where the child will sleep on vacations, birthdays, holidays, other special events, and remaining days of the year must be detailed in the plan.
- It must state which parent will have the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, religious training, and other fundamental aspects of raising the child. Other decisions, such as those about clothing purchases, extra-curricular activities, social activities, and others can also be included.
- The plan must specify methods the parents will employ for resolving disagreements (30-3 Section 10.9). For example, the parties may opt to use counseling, or mediation, or other options. If a parent is determined to be using a resource for dispute resolution in bad faith, he or she can face a judgment by the court requiring him/her to pay penalties as well as attorneys’ fees to the other party.
- It must state the amount of notice that a parent agrees to provide if he or she decides to relocate and layout a modified Parenting Plan to include changes in scheduled parent-time. The plan needs to specify which parent will pay for the child to travel between the parents’ residences after the relocation.
- The parent with whom the child is living will make the daily decisions pertaining to the child.
- Either parent can make decisions in emergencies regarding the child's safety or health.
- Who will have authority as the child’s caretaker during a parent's military deployment
- Who will have the authority to make decisions regarding the child
- What methods will be used for resolving disagreements
- How contact with deployed parents will be managed
- Visitation arrangements for people other than the child’s parents
See How Our Utah Family Law Attorneys Can Help!
Writing a Parenting Plan you can both agree on is one of the most important steps in the divorce process. You can find parenting plan examples, a parenting plan worksheet, and even a parenting plan template online if you need more help in drafting one. Better yet, you can call on Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law, a leading family law, and divorce firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have over 190 years of combined legal experience helping families in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Get a free consultation, and speak to one of our child custody attorneys, look at a sample custody agreement, or just ask us for the advice and guidance you need to help you through this difficult time. Give us a call at 801-758-8204 to see how we can help!
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