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The 7 Strategies for
Determining Your Parenting Plan
Parenting Plan is the parental agreement setting out how the children will be
cared for between separated parents. Most broadly, it stipulates the residential
arrangement and how decisions shall be made affecting the child. The parenting
plan may also include agreements with regard to extra-curricular activities,
education, faith and health. If there are particular needs or wants by either
parent or regarding the child specifically those can be included too. In the
event parents cannot agree on something that arises upon completion of the
Parenting Plan, the plan can also include a statement as to how differences will
be resolved. Essentially, the Parenting Plan is the road map that separated
parents will follow for the raising of their kids.
objective in detailing a Parenting Plan is to provide as smooth a parenting path
to follow as possible so your children can enjoy a meaningful relationship with
both parents to achieve a good developmental outcome – be a well rounded
person who gets along with others and is successful in life.
some parents may fret the details of the plan, the most important determinant to
how well children of separated parents develop has less to do with the actual
details, including the time lived in each parent’s home, faith, choice of
school, extra-curricular activity, etc. The most important determinant is
actually parental conflict. The greater the conflict between the parents, the
greater the risk for a poor outcome for the child. The degree to which parents
can find reasonable solutions to their differences, the children are better off.
The degree to which parents may find themselves in ongoing conflict, then the
greater the necessity or specifying as much detail as possible and the greater
the necessity to limit or control for contact between the parents.
best as possible, parents are encouraged to develop parenting plan between
themselves, as opposed to having a plan imposed through court or arbitration
which is not to say that court or arbitration may not be necessary, but should
be considered a last resort.
reason for parents to first try and develop a plan between themselves is because
no other third party will ever know the details of your life, like yourselves.
Further, those plans agreed to between parents tend to be better followed and
longer lasting. While a solution may be imposed through court or arbitration,
inevitably one or other parent is dissatisfied with the outcome and that parent
may try to change it either directly by seeking to return the matter to court or
arbitration or indirectly by doing what they want to do anyways. Thus imposed
outcomes, do not necessarily end conflict.
these strategies when seeking to resolve a Parenting Plan;
careful who you seek advice from to determine which approach is best for you.
There can be considerable bias towards the service one offers. To determine what
is best for you, it is advisable to speak with several mediators, collaborative
lawyers and litigators. Beware of hollow promises and keep in mind that
agreements made between the parents directly, no matter how they are assisted,
tend to be better followed and longer lasting.
the way, you will be co-parenting no matter what. The only question is the
degree to which you do so successfully and in the end, peace between the parents
provides for the better outcome for children regardless of what you agree to.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
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