Include these 4 important sections in your parenting plan

Parenting plans can be difficult to create, but they're an important part of any divorce involving children. With the right parenting plan, both parents know exactly what to expect. They know where their children will be at all times, and they know what to expect during special events and holidays.

Parenting plans aren't only there to set up a basic custody or visitation schedule. They also have important information about unexpected situations, like if your child gets sick or hurt. Here's a little more about what you should include in your parenting plan.

1. Get the basic schedule together

The first thing you need to do is create the basic parenting schedule. With a basic parenting schedule, you'll decide where your child is on an average day. Some people, for example, choose to alternate weeks between each parent's home. Others choose to alternate days. You'll need to sit down and work out your preferences for where your child is at what time.

2. Talk about special days and holidays

For dates such as holidays and birthdays, you'll want to decide where your child is. You may wish to alternate years or discuss this with your child if they're old enough to have a preference. If both families still get along, there is also the potential to share the holiday, even after a divorce.

3. Work out what happens during illness

Many parents discuss what happens if the child is sick, but they don't think about what happens if they're sick. It's a good idea to talk about who can take over the care of the child and when, so you know what to do if you're sick and unable to take your child to school or to other activities.

4. Plan for exceptions to the parenting plan

Finally, prepare for exceptions to the plan. Perhaps it's a relative who comes into town for the first time in years or an event you didn't expect that your child would like to go to. Whatever it is, you need to figure out what happens when the other parent's custody time, or your own, will be affected by unexpected circumstances.

These are four things to consider having in your parenting plan. Parenting plans can be simple or complex, so it's a good idea to sit down and work out what you want to see happen in the future. The right plan can help prevent disputes and disagreements.

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