Parenting plans help to guide parents through their parenting responsibilities during a very stressful time; they are the roadmap to a successful future of co-parenting. These times may be during separation/divorce, planning to blend families or at any time a change needs to be made to a previous parenting arrangement.
A parenting plan is a written document that identifies all of the arrangements that have been made about how the children will be cared for and supported. A parenting plan can include anything that the parents want to put in it and can be either lengthy and detailed or brief and summarized.
The purpose of a parenting plan is to:
Reduce conflict and confusion for the children
Reduce conflict between the parents and/or step-parents
Encourage good relationships with parents and/or step-parents
Establish normal schedules with regular routines that are age appropriate for the children
Two of the main factors that determine how well children cope during change are how well the parents/step-parents manage conflict and how well they communicate.
Parenting plans help to alleviate some of the confusion children feel about what is going to happen in the future and what their everyday lives are going to look like going forward.
Coaching and Mediation services exist to help guide parents/step-parents through this process and others, in order to reduce further conflict, reduce costs and ensure that the focus remains on the best interests of the children.
Parenting plans contain information about how the children’s medical, emotional, educational, spiritual, physical and social needs will be met. The process of creating a parenting plan makes big decisions more manageable. It will also reduce conflicts in the future as many possible areas for dispute will have already been discussed and planned for.
Parenting plans provide continuity and structure for the children throughout this very unstable time.
This planning document will evolve over time and modifications and/or additions can be made as parents/step-parents become more familiar with their new roles or as the needs of either the children or the parents/step-parents change.