The nuclear family is no more! 23% of children live with a single parent. Even more children live with two parents who are divorced, alternating their time between them.
Every child deserves a good home to live in, whether they live with one parent or two. If you’re getting a divorce and need to help your child, you have to think about parenting plans.
What do you need to do before you write a parenting plan? How can you divvy up parenting time? What expenses do you need to cover?
Answer these questions and you can have a clean divorce in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Negotiate Child Custody
The first step to developing parenting plans is to figure out child custody. Many couples split custody evenly, with the child spending half their time with each parent.
Other couples develop an uneven split. One parent may have visitation rights, but the child lives with the other parent full time. A parent may take care of their child five days a week and the other for two due to work obligations.
You should talk to a divorce lawyer and fight for the custody arrangements you want. Don’t hire the first lawyer you see. Take a look at this divorce lawyer and compare them to others until you find one that offers the services you need.
Develop a Parenting Schedule
You can find a few different schedules to meet your needs. A biweekly rotation involves one week with one parent and one week with the other.
If you and your co-parent want to see your child every week, you can try a 2-2-3 schedule. Your child spends two days with one parent, two days with the other, and then has a three-day weekend with the first parent. You switch back and forth every week.
To minimize the disruption to your child, you can try birdnesting. Your child remains in the family home, and you and your co-parent cycle out of it. Each of you will need to find a place to live to make the arrangement work.
Review the Finances
Your child’s well-being depends on covering their expenses. Both of you need to provide for their schooling, healthcare, and food.
How you split time usually affects how you split the expenses. If the time is split 50-50, each of you will pay 50% of the bills.
One of you may need to pay child support to the other. This money should go toward paying your child’s expenses and nothing else. You should write a plan for using child support and handling emergency expenses.
Write Parenting Plans
Parenting plans are trickier than they seem. You need to negotiate parenting time first and figure out how long you will spend with your child.
Once that arrangement is made, you can write a parenting schedule. You can adopt any schedule you want, but you must think about the disruptions to your child’s life. Try keeping them in one house.
You must also cover the services and expenses for your child. Feel free to pay child support to help your co-parent out.
Once a plan is written, you need to start co-parenting. Read co-parenting guides by following our coverage.