Parenting is hard under the best of circumstances, and it only gets harder when the parents aren’t together. If you’re divorcing your child’s other parent, the agreements you make now (and write into your parenting plan) will have a significant effect on your child’s future.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re thinking ahead and looking at all the conflicts that modern parents are likely to face when raising their kids. In addition to making some ground rules for basic matters like visitation and custody, here are a few things you don’t want to forget to cover in your parenting plan:
- Co-payments for medical visits and other medical expenses. You may have health insurance that covers the kids, but what about co-pays? What about prescription costs and over-the-counter medicine that isn’t covered?
- Personal appearances. What’s the plan if your teenager wants their nose pierced? How many earrings are acceptable per ear? Can one parent give consent for major changes to their appearance?
- Extracurricular activities. What happens when your budding young soccer player’s practice times interfere with the custody schedule? Who gets the say-so about extracurricular activities, and what concessions will be made if the other parent’s time is affected?
- New relationships. How soon is “too soon” to introduce a new romantic interest to the kids? What are the ground rules that you both want to see followed?
- Electronics. We live in a digital age, so no parenting plan is complete unless it addresses the access you want the kids to have to electronics, gaming systems and social media.
Generally, an experienced legal advocate is invaluable when it comes time to craft a parenting plan. They’ve seen what works — and what doesn’t. Your parenting plan is a guide for your child’s future, so leave nothing to chance.