A parenting plan is a comprehensive schedule for parents to follow when they are no longer living with each other. They can be simple and clear, or they can be incredibly complex.
In Maryland, there is presently no requirement for a parenting plan, but that is likely about to change. 38 other states require parents to have parenting plans. It cuts down on future litigation.
What might be included in a parenting plan?
The basics are as follows: holiday, special days, vacations, as well as spring, summer and winter breaks.
Once they get a bit more complex, parenting plans may contain guidelines on what doctors to use, when to call them and guidelines for the parents contacting each other if a child requires medical care and treatment.
Education is another are where a parenting plan may come into play, setting forth roles and shared responsibilities for homework, projects and other issues.
A parenting plan often provides a roadmap as children grow. A parenting plan may include topics for children, as they are toddlers, begin elementary school, progress to middle school and then reach high school, as the needs of children change as they grow older.
Highly experienced divorce and family law attorneys, as well as divorce and family law mediators, have been using parenting plans for decades, because they make sense and promote keeping the peace between parents.
The plan can easily answer such questions as when are pick-ups and drop-offs, who get the children when school is closed, who should be notified when a child is sick and has to leave school, and so much more.
Why would anyone ever object to having a parenting plan? You might be surprised. Some parents thrive on lack of organization or chaos. There are many reasons. Some parents are often looking to pick a fight with the other parent.
The bottom line is that if you can establish a written parenting plan, it decreases the need for parents to negotiate with each other on topics that can be agreed upon in advance. It makes life easier for everyone. And by everyone, I really mean your children.