As a parent navigating a divorce, you and your ex may need to devise something called a parenting plan that sets guidelines you agree to follow when it comes to raising your son or daughter. The parenting plan may be informal, or you may choose to create a formal legal document, depending on circumstances.
The exact contents of your parenting plan are going to vary based on your child’s age, how close you and your ex live to one another and so on. However, the Texas Attorney General outlines certain areas and elements most Texas parenting plans should address.
Fundamental elements of a parenting plan
Your parenting plan should address your general custody agreement, dictating who handles the child and when. It should also cover what you plan to do with regard to school vacations, holiday celebrations, birthdays and similar events and occasions.
Many former couples find it beneficial to include language in their parenting plans about how to exchange the shared child. For example, you may decide that whoever has the child in his or her care last handles transporting that child to the other parent’s home.
A solid parenting plan should also address who has decision-making authority over your shared child and when. For example, you may decide that whichever parent has your child sleeping in his or her home has the responsibility of making general day-to-day decisions.
However, you may also decide that the two of you must confer before making decisions about finances, medical care, religious observations and so on.
Ultimately, anything that may help prevent conflicts down the line is worth including in your parenting plan. You may even want to include language in it about what to do in the event that a conflict arises between you and your ex. Maybe you agree to undergo counseling before fighting one another in court, or perhaps you commit to mediating any conflicts to avoid them potentially becoming costly court battles.