4 components that should be in your parenting plan

A parenting plan can help divorced or separated parents spend quality time with their children and avoid conflicts.

The Family Code of Texas encourages both parents to have an active role in raising their children after going through a divorce or separation. While previously, courts may have favored the mother and awarded her primary custody of the children, state lawmakers have established guidelines to ensure that there are no discriminations made against fathers or the parents' marital status. Courts are instructed to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children to make sure that they are able to develop a loving and long-lasting relationship with each parent.

For people living in San Antonio, it can be difficult to continue to parent children together after a relationship has broken apart, but Texas has set up the use of a parenting plan. To make these parenting plans efficient and eliminate unnecessary custody or parenting conflicts, there are at least 4 components that every plan should contain.

1. Parenting time schedule

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas states that it is important for parents to set up a schedule that establishes when each of them will spend time with their children. The schedule should cover the length of the year and include special events such as vacations with each parent, religious and school holidays, birthdays and other momentous occasions.

The schedule should also include pickup and drop-off times for each parent. This will eliminate confusion and help each parent understand when and where the exchange of children will take place. Additionally, it is important for parents to avoid making changes in the parenting schedule unless they have discussed it with the other parent.

2. Who makes what decisions

Raising children comes with a lot of decisions. What religion should they be raised in? Should they participate in extracurricular activities? What kinds of environments should they be exposed to? A parenting plan can help parents spell out who will make what decisions. For example, one parent may take responsibility for dealing with teachers and educational needs while the other parent manages the child's health care.

Parents also need to determine who will make decisions in emergency situations or set up a stipend that gives the other parent authority when the primary decision maker is not available.

3. Extra costs

While the basic expenses for children are addressed through the awarding of child support, parents are all too aware that kids have extra needs. There are school supplies to buy, sports and art activities, entertainment, summer camps and medical care. Parents can use a parenting plan to divvy up these extra costs so that there are no arguments or confusion later on.

4. Resolving disputes

People in San Antonio often have their own ideas when it comes to parenting and they should understand that disputes are going to happen. For divorced parents, a parenting plan can set up a process to be used when they disagree. This can include using a mediator, a mutual friend, sitting down and talking about it or seeking the counsel of a family law attorney.

Keywords: divorce, child, custody, parenting plan