Divorcing parents in the state of Texas typically need to create a parenting or co-parenting plan. This plan can be created informally by both parents working together in a cooperative manner, or they can be created in a more formal type of setting. Parenting plans are good for the family as a whole and can be especially beneficial for the children of divorce. They can provide the children with security, routine and a healthy dose of parental attention that they can count on.
A good parenting plan puts the best interests of the children first, but also addresses the needs of the parents. This ensures that no undue stress occurs that could put a strain on family relationships. No cookie cutter parenting plan exists because all families and all children have unique, highly personalized needs. However, there are several elements or clauses that can ensure co-parenting plans function well.
Begin with a general statement addressing parental cooperation. This statement shows that the parents agree to care for the children and make decisions with cooperation and mutual respect.
Next, it is time to address the sharing of responsibilities. This section should state that the parents will share information and responsibility for all important issues that could affect the children.
A third element address specific time-sharing components such as where the children will reside, established routines, overnight stays and many others. It is also a good idea to add a clause about holiday arrangements and other special activities.
Finally, it is important to address the time period of the parenting plan and what to do should amendments need to be made or if disputes arise. This element could become complex, but an attorney can help iron out the details.
Co-parenting and child custody agreements are important for everyone involved in a divorce. For those who want quality advice born from experience, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer about your concerns.
Source: Psychology Today, "Developing Co-Parenting Plans," Edward Kruk Ph.D., accessed March 11, 2016