Coming up with a plan of how you will take care of your children after divorce can be stressful. You want to do what is best for your children, but you must also make compromises so that your co-parent remains a staple part of your children’s lives.

Finding that balance can begin with creating a parenting plan that is child-centered, considers short- and long-term scheduling and defines a system for how you and your will communicate all child-related information.

Prioritize child’s needs

You probably know the basics of what you should include within your parenting plan. But, it’s crucial to look below the surface level and create a plan that provides more than just shelter, clothes and sustenance.

Specifically, you should develop your plan with your child’s emotional and physical well-being at the forefront. This can include actions you will take to make sure the transition from living in one to living in two homes is as smooth as possible, like:

  • Doing child pick-ups at a time that works well with your child’s schedule and not just yours
  • Creating morning, mealtime and bedtime routines that are similar within each home
  • Building in quality time with each of your children, so they know you are there for them even when lots of changes are happening around them

Create an in-depth calendar

To help create more overall security for your children and more ease as you go from marriage to co-parenting, you can consider daily, monthly and annual obligations during the planning process. So, instead of just deciding which days you will have parenting time, you can also:

  • Develop a protocol for how you will handle scheduling regular medical appointments
  • Determine how you will build your child’s sports and other activities into the schedule
  • Decide when each parent can plan family trips with their little ones

Consider a communication plan

A strong plan may also include details on how you will approach keeping in touch with your co-parent about your children. This is because even with a detailed plan, surprises happen, and the schedule might have to shift. To lessen the burden of a schedule changes and other co-parent decisions, it can be helpful to have a designated platform where you submit requests and messages. If texting one another works well, then stick to that. Otherwise, many co-parents opt for scheduling apps designed with joint custody in mind.

How you choose to discuss and keep up your parenting plan is up to you. But making sure details like your child’s needs, scheduling expectations and your preferred method of communication are in writing, can help you hold each other accountable.