As Texas parents get ready to share childrearing responsibilities after the end of their relationship, they will need to negotiate the details of child custody. One of the tools available to ensure the success of their journey going forward is a parenting plan.
What to cover in a parenting plan
Parenting plans are specific to each family’s situation. This involves the parents’ relationship with each other and their level of involvement with their children. Parenting plans can range from the very basic to the incredibly complex in addressing the many decisions parents will have to make as the children grow. Some of the details that parents might wish to cover in a parenting plan include:
- School and extracurricular schedules
- Health care decisions and needs
- Educational needs and plans
- Religious upbringing
- Social outings such as sleepovers
- Discipline and children’s responsibilities
The more detailed the plan, the more valuable it will be in helping parents become successful co-parents, since the document filed with the court can help to prevent disagreements that might come up as the children grow.
Flexibility is important
Though a parenting plan can be extremely detailed, it is important for parents to maintain a certain level of flexibility. For example, the plan might outline when children go to one parent’s house rather than the other’s, but in an emergency, there should be a degree of understanding and perhaps a protocol to follow. In addition, as the children grow and the parents continue with their lives, the situations outlined in the plan might also change. Either parent can begin the process to make necessary alterations to the plan.
While a court will ultimately make custody decisions for the parents, it is often best if parents can reach an agreement about their parenting plan. Working together, parents can ensure that they are creating a plan that works for the particular needs of their family.