Going through a divorce while raising children can feel draining and sometimes it might feel as though every action you are taking is a negative one. However, there are many positive steps that you can take in order to secure a bright future for you and your children. One of those positive actions is to create a visitation schedule or parenting plan so that you are well equipped to coparent and introduce structure into your "new normal."
Writing a good visitation plan can be the key to success for your family. It is important that you work with your ex spouse to make sure that you are both in agreement. One strategy that often proves successful is having one parent write the first draft of the plan, then proceeding by asking the other parent to suggest any amendments or additions that they both would like to see. In this way, a productive negotiation and discussion can begin.
Making a visitation schedule work for your children
It is important to put the primary focus not on what you or your ex spouse wants, but what schedule would be in the best interests of the children. It is usually in the best interests of the children to have a strong relationship with both parents, and to have a sense of structure that they can rely upon and feel safe within.
What should be included in a visitation plan?
A visitation plan is primarily about how time will be shared. This means that it should include what days the children will spend with each parent. In addition to this, holidays and vacations should be addressed, as well as who has responsibility for taking them to extra-curricular activities, school and doctors' appointments.
Additional details can be included, such as the healthy diet that they should have, the type of emotional support and discipline that they require, and how decisions will be made in the future.
In California, visitation and parenting plans are very much encouraged. They often provide a basis from which a child can make a smooth transition through the changes of their parents' divorce. If you are looking into writing a parenting plan, it is a good idea to get the opinions of others during the process.