If you have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the divorce process will focus largely on issues regarding child custody, child support and related matters.

Regardless of the circumstances of your relationship, you need to create a workable parenting plan that will keep you and your ex on the same page in the future. This allows you to better raise your children together, which should be a top priority for the both of you.

When negotiating the details, it’s important to compromise to create a mutually beneficial parenting plan. By taking this approach, you end up with a plan that both individuals are willing to follow in the future.

Here are some of the details your parenting plan should address: 

  • Physical custody: For example, you may have physical custody of your children, which means they will live primarily with you. In this case, your ex may receive visitation rights. You’ll want to create a visitation schedule, in addition to your parenting plan, so there’s no grey area.
  • Legal custody: Sometimes, one parent has legal custody of their children. Other times, it’s shared among both parents. Legal custody is important, as it gives you the power to make decisions related to healthcare, education and religion among other potentially life-altering details.
  • Holiday and vacation schedule: This has the potential to be a sticking point post-divorce, so you want to address it in your parenting plan. It’s a good idea to outline where your children will spend holidays and vacations. For example, you could agree that your children spend Christmas with you on even numbered years, while your ex gets them on odd numbered years.

These aren’t the only details to include in your parenting plan, but they should give you a better idea of what you’ll face during negotiations.

Once you agree on a parenting plan, you can use it to co-parent your children in the future. As long as the both of you follow the terms and conditions, you shouldn’t run into too many issues.

However, co-parenting is challenging, so you may find that you and your ex aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. If your ex continually violates your parenting plan, learn more about requesting a modification with the goal of protecting your legal rights.