Parents often face the challenge of scheduling their lives when they go through a divorce. Since one parent or both would have to take care of the children, they need some sort of parenting plan template to guide and develop their lives in the absence of one parent. Since there aren’t any identical families, you must customize this plan to establish and address the needs of your own family.
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Parenting Plan Templates
When to use a parenting plan template?
You must design a complete parenting plan template in such a way that your children will be the main beneficiaries. This is why the plan is also known as a custody agreement template, a co-parenting plan template or a child custody agreement template.
This, by the way, isn’t a requirement during divorce proceedings but it’s a good step for co-parenting. With this plan, you can avoid many disagreements between the divorcing parents such as issues on medical care, schooling, visitations, daily care, and financial arrangements. Use a parenting plan template if:
- The couple plans to get divorced and the state requires the submission of a notarized custody agreement template;
- The couple plans to get a separation or a divorce and one or both parents want to create their own parenting plan;
- Either or both parents need to make a joint custody agreement template with a person who isn’t the spouse.
A good co-parenting plan template should clearly include in detail, the visitation schedules, custody, and the agreed-upon financial obligations. Furthermore, the document should also discuss other significant issues like medical rights, vacations, religion, transportation, extracurricular activities, and education.
This document is also referred to as a custody agreement template, child custody agreement template, notarized custody agreement template or a joint custody agreement template.
Custody Agreement Templates
Important features of a parenting plan template
One important feature of a free parenting plan template is that any adult can understand it. The contents should impart the right knowledge about the family’s predicament. Remember that this plan is an agreement between both parties. However, the couple must also remember that a judge may read this document too.
It is, therefore, essential to remember when composing the agreement all of the individuals who may get involved in the children’s lives. The heading of this document denotes the foundation of the agreement. It also serves as a guide in the formulation of your plan.
Keep in mind when writing the document to stick the facts when you describe the past and current predicament of your family. The children’s welfare and needs are also the issues that you need to discuss in the document. Avoid editorializing your statements as this shows biases. No bad mouthing your spouse either.
If you do and if push comes to shove, the judge will definitely rule against you. It is alright though, to voice out your personal take on the situation and the expectations you have, especially on issues regarding the kids. Remember that the parenting plan template isn’t about your failed marriage or the reasons behind it.
Rather, it’s an agreement that takes care of the welfare of your children. Should you have any issues against your ex-spouse, don’t consider these as complaints rather, as concerns. There is also that possibility that one parent might not allow the children to have a relationship with the other parent because of various reasons.
Getting them in harm’s way by an abusive parent is one example. But in “normal” cases, the parenting plan must reflect the desire and right of children to maintain their relationship with both of their parents. Joint custody is usually the standard or norm when parents get divorced or separated.
How you present the parenting plan can create a tremendous impact on how it will get acted upon, specifically by the judge. The best way to ensure this is by properly formatting the document. This includes basic spelling and correct grammar. Hence, have someone review it for both form and substance before you submit.
Child Custody Agreement Templates
Describing your family’s history in the document provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself, your children, and your ex-spouse. As stated earlier, focus only on facts and issues regarding the parental plan including:
- When and where you first met your spouse. Also, state how you were doing career-wise at that time.
- When your relationship started to get serious which led to either cohabitation or marriage.
- Describe your family and the people involved in your relationship.
- Describe the pre-separation routines in the family including the division of labor, how you plan to split the incomes, social activities, religious, educational choices if applicable, and so on.
- Include and expound on any specific issues which may have occurred in the family like health, financial, occupational, or learning disability issues.
All parents have their own parenting philosophies on how to raise their children. The parenting plan gives you the chance to discuss yours, what you deem is important regarding the children’s parenting, and future care. Inject your thoughts about child discipline and how children will change in time.
Make certain that your philosophy should always focus on the children’s needs and how you plan to meet such needs. It is also important to remember that the justice system will always favor joint custody as an assurance that the children maintain their relationship with both parents.
When we talk about parenting schedules, this usually refers to the details on how to apply the plan. It is here where you will discuss any logistics that are necessary for the children’s needs. If you want to successfully motivate the settlement, you have to provide not just one but several options for parenting the kids.
Providing three option plans will be adequate. In the end, the judge will consider and agree with one of them. Or perhaps the judge will agree with all of your plans. Showing some flexibility will demonstrate your concern for the kids where your willingness can go beyond anything stipulated.
Make use of a visual calendar to best layout your parenting plans instead of a write-up which may take multiple pages to explain. This may be the best option, especially if you have a lot of ideas or plans and you’d like to suggest all of them.
Free Parenting Plan Templates
How to make a parenting plan template?
To make sure that you cover all the bases when making a parental plan template, it’s recommended to use several plans as guides to your final document. Use the parenting plan as a guide for parents who have plans of getting divorced or separated.
The primary reason for such a plan is to ensure that parents fulfill their responsibilities, despite the separation. This plan ascertains the child’s continuous development. The plan should be effective in both form and substance. Take these factors into account when making a parental plan template:
- Include the names of both the parents so the document can specifically refer to them if needed.
- Include the names of the children next to clarify this fact.
- Include the duties and responsibilities of both parents which they have to agree with like sharing of information, refraining from involving children during disputes, and more.
You must also include the responsibilities of the parents in the plan. Like most templates, this plan should identify the responsibilities of each parent when it comes to the welfare of their children:
- Information Sharing
Both parents should provide information like their current addresses and contact numbers. This will ensure that either party can always track their children’s whereabouts.
- Keep the children out of parental disputes
It’s never a good experience when children get to watch their parents fight or argue about anything. This is extremely detrimental to their growth and development.
- Finding a consensus when it comes to shared time
Both parents must spend time with their children. The amount of time (Days, weeks or as decided upon) will depend upon the agreement made between the parents. But the presence of both parents in the children’s lives is essential.
- Determining the custody
Having this will determine how parents can best serve their children’s needs. This is a lot more effective than small-scale plans.
Apart from the responsibilities, you must also follow the basic guidelines for creating such a plan. When you use a computer to create the plan, PDFs can be more versatile and effective. Here are some tips you can take advantage of which can help you make a really good template:
- Be as specific as you can
There’s no need to beat around the bush. Be direct and straight to the point. But also be sure to define correctly the obligations and responsibilities of each parent.
- Check different templates to see which one is best for you
There are different templates available for use. Make sure to choose the right one suited to your requirements.
- Include as much information as you can to complete your plan
Make sure that your plan provides all the correct information shared by both parties. As such, you can also use it as a plan or a template for your own personal development.
- Include instructions on how to use the plan
This makes it easier for anyone to use the plan. It also helps avoid the misuse of the document.