Parenting plans provide a roadmap for parents after they split up and they still have children to raise together. These plans are tailored to a child’s needs instead of what’s more convenient for the parents.
A parenting plan should cover many aspects of a child’s life. Starting with these three may be beneficial for all parents who are divorcing or separating in a non-marital context.
Decision making powers
One of the primary concerns for many parents is who will make decisions for their children. This includes school, medical care, religion and other areas critical to both parents. On top of these “regular” concerns, there should be a contingency plan for emergencies. For example, if the children need emergency medical care, will the parent with them be able to make decisions even if they don’t have medical decision-making powers? This is especially important for times when children go on vacation or out of town with either parent.
Parenting time schedules
The parenting schedule is another important facet of a parenting plan. This encompasses the ordinary schedule and special schedules like those for school breaks and holidays. In many cases, vacations take precedence over the ordinary schedule.
Extracurricular activity terms
Children usually participate in extracurricular activities. A parenting plan should address things like transportation and costs. The more comprehensive a plan is, the less likely it will be that the parents have disagreements about this aspect of raising their children.
A parenting plan should reflect what the children need now, as well as setting standards for the co-parenting relationship in question. Maryland law allows for modifications of the plan under certain circumstances, although seeking legal guidance before formalizing any changes is generally wise.