When parents separate or divorce in Pennsylvania, they must create a parenting plan. This document includes details about how you will share custody.
You can support a smooth transition for your children by avoiding common parenting plan mistakes.
Undefined schedules and routines
Make sure the plan clearly lays out when the child will be with each parent and their routine at each home. Lack of clarity can lead to confusion and conflict. It can also disrupt the stability children need during this transitional period.
To avoid confusion, outline visitation schedules in the parenting plan. Define weekdays, weekends, holidays and special occasions to provide a structured routine.
Lack of communication protocol
Overlooking communication protocols can hinder effective co-parenting. Establish how you will communicate about your children’s well-being may lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.
Include specific communication guidelines in the parenting plan. You can select email, text or a shared online platform as long as you agree on a way to discuss important matters.
Failure to build in flexibility
Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen circumstances may require adjustments to the parenting plan. Ignoring the need for flexibility can create tension and hinder both parents’ ability to adapt to changing situations.
Acknowledge that circumstances may change by including flexibility clauses in the parenting plan. This allows for modifications when necessary, promoting cooperation between parents.
Failure to establish decision-making authority
Your parenting plan should define each parents’ specific role in the decision-making process. Otherwise, you could end up disagreeing about important aspects of a child’s life, such as education, healthcare and extracurricular activities.
Specify which decisions require joint input. You may also indicate instances where one parent holds sole authority.
According to the Institute for Family Studies, about 40% of divorced or unmarried parents share custody. Knowing about and preventing common missteps can potentially reduce the stress of this adjustment for the whole family.