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10 Things Parents Forget to Include in Their Parenting Plans

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Creating a co-parenting plan can be a challenging task for parents who are navigating the complexities of custody arrangements post-divorce.

A well-thought-out plan ensures that both parents are on the same page and that the child’s needs are prioritized. However, there are several crucial elements that parents often overlook.

At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced family law attorneys specialize in helping parents create comprehensive and effective co-parenting plans. We guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that your plan is thorough, legally sound, and tailored to meet your family’s unique needs.

Studies indicate that children with well-structured co-parenting plans generally experience fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance than those without consistent parenting arrangements.

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10 Things Parents Forget to Include in Their Parenting Plans

Communication Protocols

Effective communication between co-parents is vital for the success of any co-parenting plan.

It is essential to establish clear protocols for how, when, and through which channels parents will communicate about their child’s needs and developments.

Specify the frequency of updates and preferred methods, such as phone calls, emails, or co-parenting apps.

This clarity helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures parents remain informed about significant events in their child’s life.

child custody agreements

Holiday and Special Occasion Schedules

Holidays and special occasions can be a source of contention if not explicitly detailed in the co-parenting plan.

Plans should outline which holidays each parent will spend with the child, considering traditional holidays and special family events.

Alternating major holidays annually is helpful to ensure fairness in parenting time and maintain family traditions.

Travel and Vacation Plans

Many parents forget to include travel guidelines and vacations in their co-parenting plans.

It’s important to set boundaries on out-of-state or international travel, including requirements for providing travel itineraries, emergency contact information, and consent forms.

This ensures both parents know the child’s whereabouts and can address any safety concerns.

parents education decisions

Educational Decisions

Educational decisions can significantly impact a child’s future, making it a good idea to outline how they will be made.

This includes choices about schools, tutoring, extracurricular educational activities, and attendance at school events.

Both parents should agree on the level of involvement each will have and how decisions will be reached collaboratively.

Healthcare and Medical Decisions

Healthcare decisions are another critical aspect often overlooked.

The co-parenting plan should detail how medical decisions will be made, including regular check-ups, emergency care, and consent for medical procedures.

Parents should agree on a primary healthcare provider and how medical expenses will be shared.

parenting decisions

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities play a significant role in a child’s development and should be included in the co-parenting plan.

Parents should agree on which activities the child will participate in and how costs and transportation will be managed.

This helps provide a consistent schedule and support for the child’s interests and talents.

Discipline and Parenting Styles

Consistency in discipline and parenting styles is crucial for a child’s well-being.

Parents should discuss and agree on disciplinary methods, rules, and expectations for behavior.

This helps provide a stable and predictable environment for the child, reducing confusion and behavioral issues.

children's best interest

Introduction of New Partners

Introducing new partners to the child can be a sensitive issue.

The parenting plan should include guidelines about when and how new partners will be introduced. Both parents should agree on the timing and manner of introductions to ensure the child’s emotional needs are considered.

Emergency Situations

Planning for emergencies is often overlooked but is crucial for the child’s safety.

The parenting plan should include procedures for handling emergencies, such as medical incidents or natural disasters.

This includes providing each parent with emergency contact information and agreeing on a protocol for notifying each other in an emergency.

Conflict Resolution Mechanisms

Despite the best intentions, conflicts, and arguments may arise.

Including conflict resolution mechanisms in the parenting plan can help address disputes amicably without needing a court order.

This may involve agreeing to attend mediation sessions or conciliation sessions, seeking the advice of a neutral third party, or following a predefined process for resolving disagreements.

FAQs: Addressing Common Co-Parenting Challenges in Arizona

Navigating the complexities of co-parenting requires foresight and meticulous planning.

Below are some frequently asked questions that address specific, often overlooked aspects of co-parenting plans in Arizona. These answers provide clarity and practical solutions to ensure your co-parenting arrangement runs smoothly.

How can we address disagreements on religious upbringing in our co-parenting plan?

Include provisions in your co-parenting plan for addressing religious upbringing. Specify how religious decisions will be made, whether one parent will take the lead on spiritual matters, and what process will be followed if disagreements arise, potentially involving mediation or seeking a court order for resolution.

How do we handle changes in our child’s medical insurance coverage?

Your co-parenting plan should include a section on managing changes in medical insurance coverage. Outline the process for notifying the other parent about changes, updating coverage details, and deciding how to share additional costs arising from new policies. 

What steps should we take if our child wants to change their primary residence?

Include a procedure in your co-parenting plan for addressing your child’s request to change their primary residence. This should involve discussing the reasons for the request, considering the child’s best interests, and potentially seeking input from a child psychologist or mediator before deciding. 

How can we ensure our child’s belongings are adequately managed between households?

Establish guidelines in your co-parenting plan for managing your child’s belongings, such as clothing, school supplies, and toys, between households. Specify how items will be packed, transported, and returned to ensure consistency and prevent disputes.

What should we do if one parent wants to relocate more than 100 miles away?

Arizona law requires a parent to provide 45 days’ notice to the other parent before relocating more than 100 miles away. Your co-parenting plan should include a process for handling such relocations, including notice requirements, potential modifications to the parenting schedule, and steps for resolving disputes through mediation or court if necessary.

How do we manage differing bedtimes and routines between households?

In your co-parenting plan, include specific agreements about maintaining consistent bedtimes and daily routines across both households. This helps provide stability for your child and can include details about meal times, homework schedules, and bedtime rituals. 

What if we disagree on how much screen time our child should have?

Your co-parenting plan should address guidelines for screen time, including limits on TV, video games, and internet use. Specify how these rules will be enforced and agree on a method for resolving disagreements, such as consulting with a child psychologist or mediator. 

How do we handle situations where one parent must frequently travel for work?

For parents who travel frequently for work, include provisions in your co-parenting plan detailing how these absences will be managed. This can involve advance notice of travel plans, arrangements for temporary custody adjustments, and how to maintain communication with the child during the parent’s absence.

What is the best way to document and share the child’s expenses?

Establish a straightforward method in your co-parenting plan for documenting and sharing the child’s expenses. This can include using a shared spreadsheet, a co-parenting app, or agreed-upon financial software to track the costs and ensure both parents contribute fairly. 

How can we meet our child’s dietary needs and preferences in both households?

In your co-parenting plan, address dietary needs and preferences, specifying any dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences. Include guidelines on meal planning, grocery shopping, and sharing information about the child’s nutritional needs to ensure consistency. 

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Incorporating these often-overlooked provisions into parenting agreements can significantly enhance their effectiveness, providing a structured and supportive environment for the child. 

If you need help creating a comprehensive co-parenting plan, consult with a lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta. They can guide you through the process and ensure that your plan meets all legal requirements under Arizona law. 

Contact Colburn Hintze Maletta at 602-825-2500 to schedule a consultation today. 

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