What elements should be in a parenting plan?

A parenting plan has several elements and all of them play an important role in keeping the peace between parents.

Courts in Arkansas encourage parents to work together when their romantic relationship has fallen apart. One of the tools that they ask parents to use is a parenting plan. These plans are designed to make things easier for parents and contain several components.

Custody schedule

One of the first things that parents need to come to agreement on is a custody schedule. The schedule should consist of the overall weekly timeline of when the child will spend time with each parent, including pickup and drop-off times. Vacations and holidays are other things that are good to put on the calendar as it can encourage parents to plan ahead.

When putting together the schedule, it is important to keep the child's age in mind. Infants will probably need to remain more with the mother at first. Teens are more independent and so parents should respect their wishes to hang out more with their friends than with their parents.

Who makes the important decisions

Part of the parenting process concerns decision-making. Before divorce, this would have been undertaken by both parents but this can be difficult to accomplish afterward. The parenting plan can define which parent makes which kinds of decision. For example, parents may choose to decide together what religion their child is raised in, the medical care the child will receive and what education the child is placed in. Then one parent may be put in charge of the extra-curricular activities while the other agrees to take care of choosing the day-to-day things the child needs.

How disputes are handled

It is also a good idea for parents to define how disagreements should be resolved. This can help differing views from developing into a bigger problem. Options can include the agreement to attend a mediation, use a third party such as a mutual friend or communicate through email. In this way, it gives them an avenue to follow that keeps children from ending up in the middle.

Division of extra expenses

Money is a common subject of fights between parents and another way that a parenting plan can help is to document how extra expenses are going to be divided. One parent could agree to pay for school supplies while the other parent agrees to cover the cost of sports equipment. Parents can also agree to share costs equally as a way to prevent one from being more financially burdened then the other.

Custody choices in Arkansas are difficult ones to make. Talking to an attorney may help parents learn about all of the different options that are available.