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30 Things to Include in Your Parenting Plan

What to Include in a Written Parenting Plan


Hip mum and daughter
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Creating a parenting plan is vital to establishing a good working relationship with your ex. In fact, some states require parents to file a parenting plan with the court as part of the child custody agreement. But even if your state does not require you to create a parenting plan, consider working with your ex to reach your own informal agreement. The benefit is that it forces you to consider many different scenarios and decide up front how you're going to handle them. So if there's anything that you feel strongly about, put it in the parenting plan and ask your ex to agree to it.

The Following Elements are "Must Haves" for Any Parenting Plan

At a bare minimum, your parenting plan should include the following items:

  1. A basic residential schedule
  2. A regular visitation schedule
  3. A projected schedule for parenting time over the holidays
  4. A projected schedule for parenting time on birthdays
  5. Transportation arrangements
  6. Car seat requirements
  7. Neutral exchange arrangements (if necessary)
  8. Anticipated changes to the schedule (as your children age)
  9. Schedules for school vacations
  10. How changes to the schedule should be proposed/negotiated
  11. Regular child care arrangements
  12. Whether the other parent will be considered first when a babysitter is needed
  13. How relocation requests will be handled
  14. Contact with extended family members
  15. Contact with either parent's friends/dating partners

The Following Elements are Recommended Parenting Plan Add-Ons
You should also include anything that you feel strongly about, such as:

  1. Directions pertaining to third-party visitation
  2. Sleeping arrangements
  3. Instructions for administering medication
  4. Dietary requirements
  5. Preferred methods of discipline
  6. Parent-child communication between visits/parenting time
  7. Parent-to-parent communication guidelines
  8. Decisions about piercings and body art
  9. Vaccinations
  10. Internet use (including Facebook)
  11. Cell phone use
  12. Curfews
  13. Movies (for example, R-rated movies)
  14. Participation in school/sporting events
  15. Participation in church/synagogue/mosque activities

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