Creating a Parenting Plan

In a perfect world, marriages would never dissolve. But divorce is a reality and one that impacts everyone involved, including the children. To help children feel safe and secure during the weeks and months that follow a divorce, it is important that both parties work together to come up with a co-parenting plan.

Keeping Your Children’s Best Interests in Mind

Simply put, a co-parenting plan is a comprehensive document that outlines how parents will continue to raise their children after a separation or divorce. This document will lay out things like how much time children will spend with each parent, how decisions – both major and minor – will be made moving forward, how the information will be shared and exchanged, and more.

While there are no hard and fast rules as to how a co-parenting plan should be formatted or what information should be included, it is vitally important to approach the plan’s development with your children’s best interests in mind. To create a helpful document, all issues, emotions, and pettiness should be put aside, and the focus should remain on what is best for your children.

Things to be Included

It’s important to mention that co-parenting plans may differ from state to state. Having said that, most will include the following five clauses:

1. A Brief General Statement

The plan will typically open with a general statement that the parents will be sharing responsibilities of parenting the child or children. This includes shared decision-making and shared daily routines.

2. Outline Parental Responsibilities

In this section, parents agree to communicate on all important aspects of the children’s welfare. This can include making decisions regarding health, education, and religious upbringing.

3. Specifics

This section can cover how you will actually arrange to time-share. This includes routine time, activity time, overnight stays, etc.

4. Holidays

Outline how you and your ex will handle holidays and other special observances.

5. Time Period and Amendments

All co-parenting plans should mention the length of the agreement and that the plan will need to be re-examined and possibly adjusted from time to time moving forward.

Again, these are very general guidelines. Your plan can be more explicit and specific to your situation.

Getting Help with Your Co-Parenting Plan

To create the right plan for your family, it’s recommended that you get some guidance. While a lawyer can help you with specific legalities, a family counselor can help you with communication. After all, you will need to navigate your emotions and be able to hear and be heard for the best interests of your children. A therapist can facilitate healthy and clear communication.

If you’d like to work with a family counselor to create a co-parenting plan that will help you both raise happy and successful children, please reach out to me.

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How Family Therapy Can Help During This Lingering Covid Crisis

It has been almost a year since the world changed with the Covid-19 virus. After months and months of being locked down, many families are experiencing burnout from being forced to be home together so much.

While the vaccines are being rolled out, we are still getting mixed reports and messages from the media as to when life might return to normal. Some schools have opened, but many have not, and parents are still scrambling to figure out how to make a living while homeschooling their children.

All of this has caused many families to feel fatigued and a real strain on their relationships.

Family Therapy: Ensuring Your Family’s Health

Over the past year, many families have taken necessary measures to ensure they remain physically healthy during this time. Making healthy meals (instead of ordering pizza 3 nights a week) and getting the family involved in regular exercise has been a big help. But how can parents ensure they and their children protect their mental health at this time?

Family therapy offers each member of your family a safe space to discuss any issues they may be having. A trained therapist can guide your family, helping all of you to understand and utilize the healthiest communication strategies. He or she can also help to validate your feelings and offer helpful stress management techniques.

And, for anyone concerned with the safety of visiting a therapist in person during this time, family therapy can be just as effective when received through telehealth, or online therapy.

If you and your family are struggling right now and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

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