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What Should Be Included in Any Parenting Plan?

S. A. Jones Law Feb. 14, 2023

Hands of parent and child in natureGoing through a divorce is never easy, especially when children are involved. In divorces that involve children, a detailed and comprehensive parenting plan is a must. These plans are a crucial part of determining the relationship between two parents who are no longer together. However, the process of creating a parenting plan might seem overwhelming. You might feel worried that you will forget to address something important in this plan. 

If you need guidance on what to include in your parenting plan, reach out to Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law. Shannon A. Jones is a skilled family lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee, who also serves separated and divorced parents in Cordova, Germantown, Covington, and the rest of the state. Set up a consultation today.  

Creating a Parenting Plan  

Creating a parenting plan is essential in any divorce that involves children. However, the approach to creating this plan varies depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested: 

  • Contested divorce. When going through a contested divorce, it can be difficult to come to an agreement on major issues such as child custody and visitation rights. This means that both sides will need to go back and forth in order to negotiate a satisfactory resolution. In some cases, the court may even step in and decide what should happen if both sides cannot agree on something. It is imperative that individuals going through this process have an experienced family lawyer by their side who can help them navigate these negotiations and advise them on their best options.  

  • Uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce typically occurs when both parties already have an understanding as to how they want things resolved and do not need any outside help from the court system. This often leads to less conflict between the two parties and makes it easier for them to reach an agreement without involving lawyers or judges. However, this does not mean that the process should be taken lightly. Couples still need experienced representation in order for their agreement to be legally binding.  

Whether you are dealing with a contested or uncontested divorce, having an experienced family lawyer by your side can make all the difference when crafting a parenting plan that works for everyone involved, including your kids.  

What Should Be Included in the Parenting Plan? 

A parenting plan is a document that outlines the arrangements made between the parents and serves to provide clarity and direction for both parties. Knowing what should be included in your parenting plan can help you make sure all aspects of your new family dynamic are covered.  

  1. Visitation schedule. The visitation schedule is one of the essential parts of any parenting plan. It outlines when each parent will have physical custody of the child and how long that period of visitation will last. It’s vital that you work out a schedule that works for everyone involved, as this will ensure that both parents get enough time with their children.  

  1. Holiday sharing. It’s also important to include holiday sharing in your parenting plan. This ensures that both parents have equal access to celebrating holidays and special occasions with their children.  

  1. Travel out of state and vacation. One thing that many people forget to include in their parenting plan is travel out of state and vacation plans. It’s a good idea to include these plans as they determine which parent can take the child out of state for vacation or travel purposes.  

  1. Medical decisions. When constructing your parenting plan, you need to consider the medical decisions that will be made on behalf of the child. Who will make major healthcare decisions? Who will attend doctor visits? Will both parents have access to medical records?  

  1. Educational decisions. In addition to medical decisions, educational decisions should also be addressed in the parenting plan. Who will decide where the child goes to school? How will major educational decisions (such as extracurricular activities and tutoring) be handled?  

  1. Communication between parents. It’s also critical to include protocols for communication between parents. How often should parents communicate with each other regarding their child? What’s the preferred method of communication?   

  1. Emergency protocols. Finally, emergency protocols should always be included in your parenting plan. Having an agreed-upon protocol for various emergency scenarios can help provide peace of mind for everyone involved, including your kids.  

By making sure all areas are addressed in your parenting plan, you are more likely to prevent unnecessary disputes and disagreements in the future.   

Work With an Experienced Attorney  

Creating a comprehensive parenting plan is essential for establishing a healthy relationship between two separated or divorced parents. If you are in the process of creating a parenting plan, contact Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law, to get the guidance you need.