11 Essentials to Include in your Parenting Plan

Will you need a parenting plan as a guideline to follow as your children grow up?

iStock_000016239130XSmall[1]  If you are like I was, you’ve never put together a parenting plan and the ones the courts typically pass out are so vague and basic that you could drive a truck through them.

Many sample plans leave many essential items out that could lead to frustrations, bitter disagreements and having to return to court later on when conflict arises.

As a divorce strategist and co-parenting coach, I specialize in helping a parent put together a parenting plan that is customized for their child’s specific needs and takes into account activities and expenses that will take place in the future as the child gets older.

With so much riding on this written agreement, it’s critical to be sure to address each of the following-

11 Essentials to Include in your Parenting Plan

  1. Medical, Dental and vision insurance- who will cover the costs of insurance, how will expenses be divided and in what specific time frame will the bills need to be paid
  2. Orthodontic and oral surgery expenses- who will be responsible for braces and wisdom teeth removal expenses which are often not covered with dental insurance
  3. Child care expenses- these will change as the child gets older so some parents choose to use a percentage basis for their share of the payment
  4. Transportation costs for parenting times- be sure to clearly outline who is responsible for pick up and drop-offs with the children both during their day to day times as well as holiday visits
  5. Who will be able to take each child as a dependent on their tax returns- clear language is especially important here as parents often fight over this at tax time
  6. Cell phones, cell phone bills and insurance coverage- even if your child is too young for a phone now – this can help to avoid future arguments
  7. Drivers Training courses, auto purchase, repairs, maintenance and auto insurance for teens
  8. Extra-curricular activity expenses, uniforms and equipment needed for each child
  9. Right of first refusal- if a child is left with someone other than the parent for 2 or more hours- the other parent has the right to come get them
  10. What to do if the parenting plan rules aren’t followed? Will mediation be required? Who will pay for mediator? Will a parent forfeit time with the children?
  11. Who will be the residential parent for school placement purposes? If that parent moves out of the child’s school district, will the other parent then become the residential parent? What if both parents move out of the child’s current school district? Since parenting plans often last for many years- thinking ahead now about what moves may take place helps to avoid conflict later on


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