Creating a comprehensive parenting plan is necessary when you part ways with your child’s other parent and plan to share the responsibilities of raising your child. In Texas, a parenting plan is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of child custody and visitation.
Including the following elements helps ensure that your parenting plan addresses all necessary aspects.
Start your parenting plan by outlining the custody arrangements. This includes designating whether one parent has sole custody, or if both parents share joint custody. While every custody case is unique, research shows that Texas fathers typically have their children about 33% of the time. If you plan to share custody with your former partner, outline the physical and legal custodial responsibilities each of you will have.
Detail a clear visitation schedule to ensure you and the other parent have adequate time with your child. Make sure the schedule covers regular visitation, holidays, school breaks and special occasions. Be specific, too, about pickup and drop-off locations and times.
Define who holds decision-making authority for important aspects of your child’s life, such as education, healthcare and religious upbringing. Decide whether one or both parents have the right to make these decisions.
Establish guidelines for communication regarding the child. This includes how you will communicate about important issues, updates on the child’s well-being and any emergency situations that may arise.
Plan for dispute resolution mechanisms. Specify how you plan to resolve conflicts that arise between you and the other parent, such as if you plan to do so through mediation, negotiation or litigation.
Creating a well-thought-out parenting plan helps ensure the well-being of your child while avoiding conflicts between you and the other parent. You can also modify the plan after completing it, as long as both parents agree to its new terms.