If you are facing a divorce and you have children with your spouse, you may be uncertain about what the future holds as a parent. Developing a strong co-parenting relationship with your spouse will help your kids navigate this challenging time. 

Learn more about how a parenting plan will guide your co-parenting with a solid foundation. 

Benefits of a parenting plan 

According to the Shared Parenting brochure published by the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, data associates positive outcomes with the consistent involvement of both parents in a child’s life. With a parenting plan, your family can create a schedule that fits everyone’s needs and provides the comfort and stability kids need for emotional well-being. 

Factors for a successful arrangement 

The right parenting plan for you, your co-parent and your children will vary depending on: 

  • Where each parent lives and works 
  • Where the child attends school and the current connections with school and community 
  • The child’s age 
  • The child’s relationship with other siblings and extended family, such as grandparents 
  • The work schedule of each parent 
  • The parents’ respective availability and willingness to serve as caregivers 
  • Whether the child has special medical, social, emotional, developmental and/or educational needs 
  • How the parents want to share responsibilities 
  • Each parent’s intention to foster a successful co-parenting relationship 

Elements of a complete parenting plan 

Listing the days the child will spend with each parent is a start, but you need more for a truly comprehensive parenting plan that will provide a roadmap for the next phase of your life. Consider these questions as you move forward: 

  • Who will care for the child if the scheduled parent has an emergency? 
  • How will you celebrate holidays and birthdays with your child? 
  • Who will schedule and attend your child’s medical and dental visits? 
  • Who will arrange child care if the child needs to stay home sick from school?  
  • How will you schedule vacations with your child? 
  • Who will drive to drop the child off and pick him or her up for visitation? 

Some couples have success talking through these items with a professional mediator. He or she can help you come to a fair agreement for everyone involved.