As a husband or wife, you realize marriage is not always easy. Raising children can also be tough. While divorce may be the best way to resolve your marital problems, you do not want your kids to suffer. A well-drafted parenting plan gives you an invaluable tool for parenting in a post-divorce family.

Several research studies show the importance of shared parenting time. In fact, when kids spend at least 35% of their time with both parents, they tend to do better in school, have higher self-esteem and form more meaningful relationships. Nonetheless, parents usually require a framework for sharing parental responsibilities. Here are seven essential components of any good parenting plan.

  1. A mission statement

Corporate leaders use mission statements to define organizational goals and set expectations. By including a mission statement in your parenting plan, you take a proactive approach to your most important responsibilities.

  1. Parenting rules

You and your former spouse likely have things that bug each of you. Rather than letting a co-parent’s behavior get under your skin, use your parenting plan to establish boundaries and memorialize important rules.

  1. Guidelines for making parenting decisions

Parents make thousands of decisions every year regarding medical care, schooling, religious practices and other important topics. Unsurprisingly, you likely cannot always agree with your ex-spouse. By creating guidelines for making parenting decisions, you may reduce friction.

  1. Procedures for child care

You do not want unfit individuals watching your kids. If you want to exclude certain individuals from providing child care, your parenting plan is a good place to do it. You may even decide to include a right of first refusal provision that gives you the opportunity to watch your children when their other parent is unavailable.

  1. A comprehensive schedule

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see your children as much as possible. Still, if you are entering into a co-parenting situation, you must allow your ex-spouse to see your young ones. By negotiating a comprehensive visitation schedule, you know who has your kids on certain days throughout the year.

  1. Parameters for outside activities

As your children grow, they may want to participate in football, dance, nature camps or other extracurricular activities. Your parenting plan may help you decide which activities are appropriate for your kids. It may also outline which parent may attend extracurricular activities.

  1. A procedure for resolving disputes

Even with an excellent parenting plan, you can assume some disputes will arise eventually. Nevertheless, you do not want to go to court every time you have a disagreement with your former partner. Instead, include a procedure for resolving disputes in your agreement.

Your children are the most important part of your life. Even though you no longer wish to continue with your marriage, you must advocate for the best interests of your kids. With an effective parenting plan, you have a reliable framework for turning your young ones into healthy adults.

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