Why You Need A Parenting Plan (Even If Your State Or Country Doesn’t Require One)
Perhaps you and your ex parted ways and you’re currently on semi-amicable terms for parenting the children. You’ve decided the basics for a parenting time schedule and holidays and feel like you’ve got everything covered.
At least for now…
In fact, your state or country doesn’t even require filing anything so you feel co-parenting is quite manageable.
But, what happens when you want to travel? Or, one of you decides to start dating again? Or, you can't agree on where the kids will attend school and who is in charge of paying medical bills? Or, one parent becomes addicted to alcohol? Or worse, your co-parent wants to move out of state or to a new country with the kids?
You will make a million decisions for your children and if you don’t have a parenting plan, life can get pretty chaotic, especially if your co-parent can’t put the best interest of the children first.
A parenting plan is a written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of how parents will share parenting responsibilities and make decisions for their children after a divorce or separation. From medical and education to holidays and parenting time, our parenting plans protect your parental rights while also supporting the emotional and developmental well-being of your children.
Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Need A Parenting Plan (even if your state or country doesn’t require it):
1. Clarifies parenting time and responsibilities: A parenting plan can help to establish clear guidelines for each parent's responsibilities regarding the children's well-being, including parenting time schedule and decision-making responsibilities.
2. Promotes cooperation and communication: A parenting plan can help establish cooperation and communication boundaries between the parents by setting out guidelines for how they will make decisions and communicate about the children's needs, as well as what platform to communicate on. It will also establish parent-child communication boundaries to make sure the children have an ongoing relationship with both parents.
3. Reduces conflict and stress: Having a clear and detailed parenting plan can help to reduce conflict and stress between parents when education or medical needs arise, as it will provide an understanding of each parent’s responsibilities and what is expected of them to meet the children’s needs. It will also clarify if one parent would like to travel with the children and what is required of the parent traveling. Providing an itinerary and ample amount of notice prior to travel reduces stress on the co-parenting relationship.
4. Provides stability and consistency for the children: A parenting plan can provide stability and consistency for children by setting out a predictable routine for them, including where they will live, how often they will see each parent, and who will make decisions for them. Children thrive when they have security, safety, and consistency rather than questioning where they will sleep tonight. This can hinder their development in school, emotionally, and long-term in being able to establish stability in their own life.
5. Prevents alienation: If a dispute arises between the parents regarding custody or visitation, the plan protects each parent from withholding the children from the other parent. A parenting plan also prevents one parent from leaving the state or country without the other parent or court’s consent the children can move.
If your state or country doesn't require a parenting plan, creating one can still be beneficial for promoting cooperation and communication between parents, reducing conflict and stress, providing stability and consistency for the children, and avoiding the need for court intervention.
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