A parenting plan is a bit different than a custody agreement. If you're both going to have custody rights, the parenting plan helps you make joint decisions about how you're going to raise the child, streamlining the process.

As you and your soon-to-be-ex work out the details, here are some questions you may want to ask. Decisions can be included in the parenting plan so that neither one of you does or allows something that the other would have forbade.

  • Are you going to get the children all of their vaccines? This can be a highly controversial topic if you don't agree.
  • What type of pick-up and drop-off schedule should you use?
  • How far in advance does a parent have to plan a vacation? Does the other parent always have to know if the kids are going on a trip?
  • What are you going to do during school vacation periods? The kids may be off for three months in the summer, but that doesn't mean your work schedule changes.
  • What types of other childcare options can be used? For instance, do you want to have a list of approved babysitters?
  • What rules to you want to lay down for future relationships? When can the kids meet someone new that you're dating?
  • What types of discipline are you going to use, and what types are you strictly against?
  • What types of rules do you want to have for things like cellphones, internet use, tattoos, hair styles, video games and more?

The key is to focus on decisions you would have made jointly if you were still married, simply making them together in advance. During this process, be sure you understand all of your legal rights.

Source: The Spruce, "What to Include in Your Parenting Plan," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Feb. 02, 2018

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