Ending a relationship does not necessarily mean you’ve seen the last of your partner. You may need to consult with him or her as you raise any children the two of you share. In some cases, co-parenting can be amicable. In other situations, it may be challenging to determine clear lines of communication. Even simple decisions, like who will take a child to get a haircut, can turn into an argument between separated or divorced parents.
While it may be difficult to avoid disagreements with the other parent, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of a toxic relationship by drafting a parenting agreement. This document can outline shared parenting duties, as well as indicate how to address and resolve any disagreements that may arise.
Five ItemsTo Consider When Drafting A Parenting Plan
While each family may have different and unique circumstances, there are some general situations that arise in every situation. A legal professional can walk you through your decisions to ensure they are lawful and reasonable.
As outlined on the Canadian Department of Justice website, some important items to consider when drafting a parenting plan with your partner are:
- Evolving Situations: As your children grow up, they may have different needs and ask for additional privileges. These situations can include going to the movies with their friends on their own, asking for a cellphone, and how much social media time they are allowed. As these questions arise, parents need to agree on a method of discussing these issues, and how to arrive at a final decision.
- Vacations and Holidays: Where your children get to spend their summer vacation and long weekends can become contentious issues. It’s important to know ahead of time where your children will be spending their holidays so each side of the family can make plans accordingly. You may also want to consider special events from the other parent, such as weddings or destination vacations, that are planned on the holidays you spend with your child. You may be able to work out a system of trading holidays if the need arrives.
- Birthdays: Who will host birthday parties? Who will cover the cost of decorations and special activities? Which sides of the family will be invited? These are all details that you may not want to sort out days before your child’s birthday.
- Living Arrangements: Who will pick-up and drop-off your children as they move between households? If one parent decides to move, how will that affect the parenting agreement? Even items such as what toys or which gaming consoles will reside within each home, or how punishments will be administered between the households, may be complicated to settle between separated parents. Having a clear plan on how to discuss these issues is important to ease the transition when a child is moving between houses.
- Communication Between Parents: When you need to arrange appointments for your children, or scheduling after school pick-ups, its important that separated parents have a plan in place. This is especially important for situations you can’t predict. If you are stuck in traffic, or have your own appointment to attend, you may need to coordinate scheduling changes with the other parent.
Some of these situations may require more thought than others. The important thing to remember about making parenting decisions is to make sure that the basis of your decision focuses on what’s best for your child. Remember to highlight a child’s safety and well-being as you decide on your shared parenting duties.