For many divorcing spouses, co-parenting offers a flexible solution that allows both parents to remain actively involved in their children’s lives outside of the confines of a traditional custody and visitation schedule. Co-parenting requires commitment, and both parents need to be willing to work together in order to address unexpected issues when they arise.
But, while some unexpected issues are inevitable, with careful planning and the benefit of hindsight, divorcing spouses can proactively address the vast majority of issues that are likely to arise in a co-parenting relationship. Even if this does not mean making a decision now, it can mean putting a structure in place to allow for amicable decision-making when the time eventually comes.
Important Issues to Address in a Co-Parenting Plan
In a previous post, we discussed 5 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After a Divorce in Ohio. Here, we take a step back and look at 25 questions divorcing spouses should consider when putting together a co-parenting plan:
- Which parent will provide your children’s “home base”?
- Who will be responsible for pick-ups, drop-offs, and transportation-related expenses?
- How will you decide to approve or disapprove of new extracurricular activities?
- Will your child a place of worship on a regular basis?
- Who will be your children’s primary physician?
- How will you cover health care and medical expenses?
- What happens if one of you loses your health insurance?
- Where will your children go to school or attend daycare?
- How will you decide whether to enroll your children in tutoring, camps, or additional classes?
- How will you save for college?
- How will you decide where your children will apply to college and in which college they will enroll?
- Where will your current pets live? What if your children want to adopt new pets in the future?
- When will your children get their own phones? How much privacy will you give them?
- What restrictions (if any) will you place on your children’s use of the Internet and social media?
- How will you schedule vacations during spring and summer breaks?
- How will you divide time during the holidays (or will you spend holidays together)?
- Which parent (or parents) will attend recitals, games, and other child-centered events?
- How will you address situations where one parent needs to travel for work during his or her scheduled parenting time?
- When should your children be able (or required) to apply for jobs?
- When will your children receive driver’s education? What driving privileges will they have?
- What curfew will you enforce?
- What will you do if one of your children wants to join the military?
- What will you do if one of your children wants to get a piercing or tattoo?
- What will you do if your child gets caught using drugs or alcohol?
- What will you do if you and your co-parent are unable to agree regarding a decision affecting your children?
As you can see, putting together a co-parenting plan takes work. But, when a co-parenting plan works, it can be well worth the emotional and time investment. While each family’s needs and preferences will be different, consistency is key (i.e. both parents should generally enforce the same curfew); and, when the process is over, both parents should be comfortable adhering to the terms of their plan.
Speak with an Experienced Cleveland Attorney in Confidence
With decades of experience in divorces and custody-related matters, we offer practical advice and experienced legal representation for divorcing spouses who are interested in co-parenting in the Cleveland area. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers, please call (440) 336-8687 or request an appointment online today.