When drafting a parenting plan, there are several key concerns that need to be addressed to ensure the plan promotes the best interests of the child and provides a clear framework for co-parenting.
Whether a child’s parents are litigating child custody matters in Tennessee courts or are hoping to successfully negotiate the terms of their co-parenting arrangements, being thoughtful when drafting a parenting plan is key.
Rights and responsibilities
Defining parental responsibilities and decision-making authority is a crucial concern when creating a parenting plan. Consider the following before committing to a particular approach:
- Parenting Time Schedule: Establish a detailed visitation schedule that outlines the specific days and times when the child will spend time with each parent. Consider factors such as school schedules, holidays, vacations, and special occasions to better ensure a fair and balanced schedule.
- Transportation and Exchange: Address logistics related to transportation and exchange of the child between the parents’ residences. Specify responsibilities, such as who will provide transportation and where the exchanges will take place to better ensure smooth transitions and minimize conflicts.
- Decision-Making Authority: Determine how major decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities will be made. Specify whether decision-making will be joint or if one parent will have final authority in specific areas.
- Communication and Co-Parenting: Establish guidelines for effective communication and cooperation between you and your child’s other parent. Encourage open and respectful communication to facilitate joint decision-making and address any concerns or disputes that may arise.
- Parental Involvement: Clearly outline each parent’s responsibilities and involvement in the child’s daily routine, including tasks such as homework supervision, healthcare appointments, participation in school events and extracurricular activities. Otherwise, preventable tensions between co-parents and their child alike could build over time.
It is important to consider the child’s age, developmental needs and specific circumstances when addressing these concerns. And, a parenting plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes as the child grows and circumstances evolve. Don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance if you need assistance crafting workable parenting plan terms. It’s okay to ask for help.