5 TIPS FOR MAKING A PARENTING PLAN YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE
Getting a divorce is a hard decision for any parent, but even harder is deciding on a parenting plan. It’s important to choose a plan that works well for your children and your own schedule. Here are five tips for making a plan that works for you.
1. Decide on where your children’s primary home will be
The first thing to decide is who has primary physical custody. Where will your children live the majority of the time?
If you have joint physical custody and live close together, you still need to create a schedule for how long your children live at each home at a time. For example, one parent might have the children living at home during the week during the school year, while the other has them at home during the summer. Or, one parent might have the children at home all the time, while the other opts for visitation times only on the weekends or in the summer months. Work out a plan that your children know and can rely on.
2. Create consistent visitation times
One thing that children need is consistency. It might be tempting to have visitation times that have a wide range, so you or your ex-spouse have more opportunities to visit or adjust your schedules, but that inconsistency can make children feel insecure. Opt for a consistent, structured visitation plan that your children can easily recognize and stick to. They’ll love knowing exactly who they’re seeing and when.
3. Consider your children’s activities
Creating a parenting plan that works for you makes you happy, but does it affect your children’s ability to participate in activities, visit friends or spend time with you or your spouse? Make sure you consider your children’s activities and create a plan that works for them while also meeting your scheduling needs.
4. Make it enforceable
When you create a parenting plan, add enough information to make it enforceable. Create contingency plans in the plan for if visitation times can’t occur or explain what happens if a child has an extra activity come up. Having more information makes it easier to enforce the rules of the parenting plan. If you have too few rules in the plan, then you or your ex may not know what to do in a situation not addressed by your previous negotiations.
5. Consider your children’s ages
You might want to ask your children’s input on where they want to live or how they want to spend their time, but their ages matter. Young children shouldn’t make major decisions like that, while teens might want to have more say in what happens to them. Consider your children’s ages, so you end up making the best decisions for them based on that factor.