Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Write a Solid Parenting Plan for Your Children with Your Ex

When going through a legal separation or divorce through the family law courtroom, you will be asked to mediate with your ex to create what is called a "Parenting Plan," otherwise known as a "Custody Agreement." A parenting plan is a detailed description of child custody, legal custody and visitation. It will lay out how the children will be raised in regards to medical emergencies, religious upbringing and educational needs. Most courts will put in place a standard parenting plan that is vague and not very specific, which can lead to confusion for you and your former spouse. Drafting your own to cover all possible situations is ideal.

  • Decide on legal custody. If this has not already been determined by the courts, then you will have to work with your ex to determine a custody arrangement that works best for the whole family. The two kinds of legal custody are sole legal custody and joint legal custody. Sole legal custody means that one parent has full control and authority in making decisions for the child without the other's consent. Joint legal custody typically allows the other parent to have a say and be considered when it comes to the child's medical care, religious upbringing, and education.
  • Work out child visitation schedules. Many court-drawn parenting plans give the non-custodial parent "reasonable visitation," which is typically understood to be an every other weekend kind of arrangement. However, if there is ever a dispute or argument, this will not hold up if you end up calling the cops to try to pick up your children on "your weekend." It is important that the physical custody and schedule for your children is as specific as possible, such as "every other weekend from Friday at 6pm to Monday at 8am" or "Every Wednesday from 3pm to 8pm." Also, find a way to alternate important holidays, giving certain holidays to each parent dependent on the year. For example, on odd-numbered years, the Mother may get the children on Thanksgiving and Easter, and the Father gets the children on Christmas and the Fourth of July, and then it alternates every year.
  • Figure out transportation and pick up locations for the children. Depending on the distance between homes, some parents may alternate transporting the children, or one parent may be solely responsible for picking up and dropping off the children. In other situations, in order to lessen the hostility and confusion of exchanges, it is best to set them up at familiar locations for the children, such as having one parent drop the child off at school after their visitation, while the other picks them up to start THEIR visitation time.
  • Determine how medical care will be paid. One parent may be responsible for providing medical insurance, while the other may be responsible for paying for co-pays. Many times, parents decide to split unpaid medical costs 50/50 for their children. This typically includes dental care and emergency visits as well.
  • Agree on how you want your children to be educated, if they are not already in school. If one parent is against a child going to a religious-based school, this needs to be addressed in the parenting plan to ensure that the other parent's wishes are taken into consideration immediately. Educational concerns that may also need to be addressed may include how the other parent is notified of parent/teacher conferences, school activities, etc.
  • Determine how extracurricular activities and daycare will be paid. Some parents decide to share the cost while others may put one parent in charge of providing monies for such extra activities. Daycare can also be figured into monthly child support if the parents want to consider this as an option as well.
  • Establish child support. Finances can also be a strain when parents are trying to establish two households for their children. It is important that the courts address child support in certain instances to allow each parent the ability to financially care for their children and hopefully uphold the same lifestyle they were accustomed to before the divorce/separation.
  • Determine how communication will be carried out from here onward. If you and your ex are in a more hostile situation where arguments may occur, you can agree to keep all communications through email. If you are able to converse with your ex in a civil manner, you can agree to communicate regarding the children during drop offs, pickups, and exchanges.

The more specific the parenting plan, the better. Think of everything when it comes to your children, and consider worst-case scenarios and every-day concerns.  Learn more at!


  1. Dayton Municipal Attorney

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  2. Are you facing a Divorce or the break up of a non-marital relationship?

    Has your Ex just served you papers to modify your custody and visitation orders?

    Do you have questions about how the court determines a visitation schedule?

    Has your children’s mother threatened to take the children and move-away to another state.

    Does your ex continually frustrate and tamper with your right to see your kids.

    Has she denied you visitation because you have not been able to pay support?

    Are you aware that it is against the law for a parent to withhold visitation due to non-payment of support?

    Are you aware that the more time you spend visiting your children the lower your child support will be?

    Have your children been "brainwashed"? (Parental Alienation Syndrome)

    Would you like to increase your visitation time-share with your children or even change custody?

    Well here’s the good news: Fathers have the same rights as mothers. Unfortunately most Father’s don’t take the time to learn what they can do to establish and enforce their parental rights. The family court is willing to help you if you are willing to take the right legal steps.

    There are two ways to get the answers and help you need:

    First, I have written a book called the Fathers Rights Survival Guide. This simple, easy to understand guide contains a section on establishing or modifying a Visitation time share order. This section will answer all of the questions you may have about how the court determines a visitation order and how you can successfully accomplish your goal of increased time share. Therefore, before you spend a dime on an attorney or other legal services learn how the system works. You can be sure your Ex has! The information is good in all 50 States.

  3. A parenting plan is an agreement that separated parents make about how their children will be cared for and supported. Preparing one yourselves means that you get to make your own decisions that suit your own circumstances. Agreeing about how things that affect your children are going to be organised, as straight forwardly as possible, will be good for your children and is likely to save arguments or misunderstandings along the way. Resolving a dispute about the arrangements for your child can be hard to do. That is why Our Firm has worked with our partners to find ways for you to resolve your dispute, and to make good decisions for your child. And our lawyer gives you the support for write a Solid Parenting plan for your children with your ex spouse.