You and your soon-to-be-ex worked together in many ways during your marriage. If you are parents, the teamwork does not end with the divorce.

The parenting plan you create should serve as a guide for the two of you to work in harmony as you continue to raise your children in a post-divorce world.

Why the plan matters

The family court in Pennsylvania, as in other states, will want to know how you intend to raise your children following your divorce. If you and the other parent can work together, you can create a parenting plan on your own terms rather than having to follow the decisions of a judge.

This will give you more control over the raising of your children, and everyone involved will likely be happier with the outcome.

Coming to an agreement

If you and your spouse decide on collaborative divorce or mediation, developing the parenting plan will become part of the process. Some forms of alternative dispute resolution have become popular, especially among couples with children.

Divorce handled outside of court is less stressful, less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation, although traditional divorce is always an option. However, keep in mind that if you and the other parent cannot agree on major parenting plan points, a judge will decide.

What to include

Your parenting plan should state who has legal custody of your children and who has physical custody. The court prefers that you and the other parent share joint legal custody, if possible. This means that you would share parenting time almost equally, but many parents need a 60-40 split. Other items to include in your parenting plan are:

  • Matters concerning education
  • Healthcare
  • Decision-making
  • Expenses—who pays for what
  • Communication between parents, and between parents and children
  • Transportation plan going between homes, to school, extracurricular activities
  • Religious upbringing

No two parenting plans are alike but all require considerable thought. Make sure that in creating yours you use easy-to-understand language. Teamwork between you and the other parent will help to avoid misunderstandings so that your plan can serve as a workable guide for you and your children.