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Why is it important to have a thorough parenting plan?

Custody concerns are always the most significant issues in a divorce case. Usually, both parents are good parents who want what is best for their children, but they may disagree on what "the best" really is.

For parents who cannot agree, it's important to take steps to manage your adult relationship and limit its impact on your children. Even if neither of you can agree on how to raise your children right now, the parenting plan and custody arrangements you come up with will answer many of the questions and concerns you have today.

Why is a parenting plan so important?

A parenting plan give both you and the other parent an outline that says what is expected of you. It may include information about the religion your child is to be raised in or activities they may or may not participate in. The plan might discuss punishments that are acceptable or actions that are not acceptable. Anything you think could cause conflict in the future could be noted, so that you have paperwork to reference in the future.

In contrast, the custody schedule is simply a schedule included in the parenting plan. It says when your children will be with you and when they'll be with the other parent. Setting up the times your children are with each parent is important, and it should be decided upon quickly.

Your parenting plan might take some time to develop, and there's a chance you won't agree on everything. Being thorough is important, though, since talking about parenting now may prevent incidents in the future.

You and your estranged spouse should do what you can to work through the plan before turning to alternative dispute resolution or a judge for help with finalizing the plan, so that you maintain as much control over the final agreement as possible.

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