When you and your child’s other parent end your relationship, you may need to set certain guidelines as far as raising the child you share. A parenting plan is a written document that outlines the terms to which you and your ex agree to adhere to when raising your child together – but in separate homes.
According to the California Courts, a parenting plan helps you and your former partner iron out issues related to child-rearing before they arise, which may help save you considerable time and money. While parenting plans vary from one to the next in terms of how specific they are, among other areas, most California parenting plans address the following.
Your time-sharing arrangement
Your parenting plan should dictate your parenting time schedule using as specific terms as possible. While you want to cover who has the kid on what days and at what times, you should also outline your plans for holidays, school and summer vacations, and the like.
Your decision-making agreement
A solid parenting plan also discusses when you and your ex have the exclusive right to make decisions on your child’s behalf and when you need to confer before making certain decisions. Many co-parents choose to have the parent whose parenting time it is handle minor decisions but stipulate that both parents must confer when the time comes to make any major decisions.
This is just a brief example of some of the elements your parenting plan should include. The contents of your plan are also likely to vary based on your child’s age, among other factors.