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How to create a parenting plan

Developing a parenting plan is an important part of the divorce process. Figuring out all of the details of a divorce may be difficult and frustrating, but you should always put your children first and do what is best for them. Understanding how child custody agreements work and what to include in them will make for a better future for your family, even after a difficult split.

Core tenets of a parenting plan

While each parenting plan will be different, certain core statements and conditions should be present in most plans. Here are some things to include in your plan:

  • A statement concerning custody
  • A parenting time schedule
  • Statements determining the division of costs and responsibilities of transporting children between visitations
  • Any restrictions on what third parties can be present during parenting time
  • A statement determining how future changes will be made to the plan
  • Arrangements for medical and financial support of the children


Parents can include any reasonable statements, requirements or restrictions that are found to be appropriate.

Prioritizing your children

When you are developing your parenting plan, both parents should keep the best interests of their children in mind. Consider the abilities of both parents to provide clothing, food, medical care and transportation for your offspring. Think about whether each parent is willing and able to encourage the children to love the other parent. These are just a few factors that can affect the effectiveness of your custody agreement.

Healthy communication

The process of coming to agreement with the other parent can seem almost impossible after a contentious split. Making a concerted effort to be respectful and put your children before your anger will create a better environment for everyone involved. By thinking of co-parenting as your duty as a parent to give your children the best opportunities possible, you and the other parent can learn to work as a team.

How to make the parenting plan

You can streamline the actual act of creating the agreement if both parents are able to reach an agreement to submit to the court. You may want to consult with a family law attorney for assistance in reaching an agreement and preparing a plan. Sometimes these matters can't be figured out without professional legal help. Family law attorneys can help you cultivate a solid plan and help you move forward as loving co-parents of your children.

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