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Where to start in devising a parenting plan

If you are adjusting to life as a single parent, it is likely that your routine has changed significantly. It has probably taken some time to adjust to these changes, and there may have been some tension between you and your ex regarding how custody is shared.

Many coparents find that their coparenting relationship becomes much smoother when they implement a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a document that plans out how their child's time is spent, and sets rules and boundaries where appropriate. The goal of a parenting plan is to ensure that both parents agree on the routine that their child will have, so that confusion and disputes are avoided.

I want to create a parenting plan but I don't know where to start

You should start with some personal reflection on what you would want in terms of a routine for yourself and your child. You should, of course, reflect on what would be most beneficial from your child's point of view, and think about what would be realistic given the circumstances.

You may want to go about drafting a parenting plan on your own. This can often be the best option to avoid conflict, as long as you make sure that the other parent is able to amend and adjust the draft of the plan. You could start by working out how a typical schedule for your child could be over a period of two weeks. You may also want to note down some general rules, parenting values or guidelines that both you and the other parent should be able to agree on. This might be rules regarding the child's discipline or their diet.

When you are happy with the plan and you think it is reasonable, you could talk to the other parent and ask for their help. You should make sure to communicate that your plan is only a draft, and that you want their help in adjusting and amending details.

If you are struggling to successfully draft a parenting plan that both you and the other parent can agree on, you may want to seek assistance. This can be done in the form of alternative dispute resolution so that you can move forward as coparents.

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