Parenting Plans and the Best Interests of the Children
Key Points
  • Parenting plans should always be drafted with the best interest of the child in mind. The child should have access to the non-custodial parent as much as possible.
  • There are many items that should be considered in parenting plans including where the primary residence would be, holiday and vacation schedules, medical care, any restrictions on relocation, extended family time, any discipline or guidance, travel arrangements, etc.

Custodial and non-custodial parents should always uphold their responsibilities. The custodial parent must make certain that the child has access to the non-custodial parent.

Child support should be paid and visitation should continue regardless of what the other side is doing. The best way to resolve visitation and/or child support issues is through mediation or the courts if the parents can’t agree. Attempts to punish the other parent ends up hurting the children in the long run. A parent should always ask: "Is this in the best interests of the children?"

Here are a number of the elements and considerations that may go into a parenting record:

  • Primary and/or joint custody and residence
  • Holiday schedule(s)
  • Health and medical care
  • Emergency Treatment & care
  • Pick up and return arrangements
  • Move-away restrictions
  • Telephone, mail, and email
  • Transportation arrangements
  • Transfer of clothing, toys & accessories
  • Expenses - normal and extraordinary
  • Travel arrangements and conditions
  • Tax deductions and HOH Designation
  • Current address notification
  • Daycare arrangements and Information
  • Additional home resident(s) clause
  • Employer contact agreement/restrictions
  • Educational arrangement and schooling
  • Religious education
  • Visitation/parenting time
  • Grandparents and extended family
  • Child discipline and guidance
  • Conflict clauses
  • Post-secondary support and planning
  • Decision making rights and responsibilities
  • Medication and controlled substances
  • Release of records and information
  • Vacation agreement/restrictions
  • Child counseling and/or therapy

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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