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Joint Custody and Shared Parenting Plan



Creating a Successful Parenting Plan

Whether or not divorce law in your state requires one, a parenting plan can help ensure a smooth transition between parents and children during divorce. A parenting plan has yet to become a requirement in many states when parents opt to divorce and must deal with shared parenting. Although this is the case, it is beneficial for all parties to develop a plan of this type when it comes to child custody. By having this plan in place, everyone knows what to expect and disputes are minimized.

Children need to know what to expect, especially during a divorce, and this plan helps to ensure that everything from visitation to schedule changes will be something that parents agree on. If the child has a question, he or she will receive the same answer from either parent based on this plan.

What should be included in a plan of this type?:

  • The names and contact information of both parents (unless a court order states this information is to be kept confidential), along with the name of all children the plan will cover
  • The jurisdiction in which the plan has been put into place
  • Parental responsibility: shared, sole, or shared with decision making authority
  • Extra-curricular activities: who may place the child or children in these activities, transportation to and from the activities, and who pays for uniforms, equipment, and registration fees
  • Information sharing for medical and school records
  • Which schedule will be followed for visitation and time sharing
  • Definition of academic breaks, holiday breaks, and other changes to the normal visitation schedule
  • Transportation and exchange of child or children, costs, foreign and out-of-state travel should be covered
  • Education
  • Communication between parents
  • Communication between parents and child or children
  • Child care
  • Relocation
  • Disputes or conflict resolution
  • Changes or modifications of the plan
  • Special occasions
  • Special considerations
  • Anything else the parents feel need to be included in the plan

When developing this parenting plan, the top consideration must always be the best interests of any children involved. All factors must be taken into consideration though. This includes the relationship history of the parents, any domestic violence that occurred, and things of that nature. Mental and physical health of the parents, consistency in routines, and moral fitness are also considered.

The more detailed the plan, the easier it will be for all parties to work together and communicate. The items mentioned above are not all inclusive. If either party feels other information needs to be detailed in the plan, he or she may request it be added. US Legal Forms has state-specific parenting plans that are professionally designed and easily filled out in Word format. A divorce is very difficult. Having a plan of this type often makes the process a little easier.


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