Coates & Davenport, P.C.

3 tips for creating a parenting plan

You love your child, and you want to make sure that s/he has the life you planned out. You didn't foresee a divorce when you gave birth, but since it's happening, you want to work together with your spouse to create the best possible arrangement for your child's custody.

One thing you should seriously consider is creating a parenting plan without turning to the court for assistance. If you allow a judge to decide, you won't have much say in the outcome. It's better to go through mediation or to work together independently to create a plan that works well for you, your child and your ex-spouse. Here are three tips for making a parenting plan work.

1. Be reasonable and willing to negotiate

No two people will have the exact same idea about what they want their custody plans to look like, so it's good if you go into the negotiations willing to discuss alternatives. It's possible to be reasonable and to make adjustments to a schedule without feeling like you're losing too much time with your child or giving up too much of your own power as a parent.

2. Know what you want

If you and your ex-spouse both think about what you want and write it down, then you can compare notes. If there are some days of the week you agree on, that's a good place to start. Build upon a foundation of agreements, and then work outward from there.

3. Determine communication preferences

Instead of waiting for a problem to come up, talk to your ex-spouse about how you'd like to be contacted about your child, when you feel it's appropriate for communications to take place and other things you may be concerned about. Establishing communication boundaries early on is a good way to keep your personal lives separate while leaving a path for communicating about your child.

These are only three things that can help, and there are many others. Consider these tips before you begin negotiating your parenting plan.

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Richmond, VA 23230

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