What Should Be Included In A Parenting Plan?

We always want the best for our children, and when going through a divorce it can be a significant task to plan what co-parenting will look like between you and your ex-spouse. A parenting plan can make raising your children in separate homes a little bit easier, and acts as a great point of reference for the future when difficult parenting situations arise.

When writing out your parenting plan, there are many topics to consider. While it can be difficult to plan for unforeseen circumstances in the future, remember that writing this plan is centered around your children’s well-being and quality of life. 

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a document that outlines the parenting schedule agreed by both parents. This plan will include things like where the children will live during the week and weekends, who is responsible for picking up and dropping off at school, and other activities throughout the week. A parenting plan can also include things like summer vacation plans, holidays, and other special days worth being mentioned.

Each parenting plan is personalized and tailored to each parent’s concerns, values, and priorities. Many states require parenting plans as it can help reduce disagreements, take stress off both parents and their children, and help the divorce proceed easier.

Parenting Plan Checklist

Parenting Schedule

A parenting schedule determines how time will be divided for each home. This includes time taken to travel to one another’s house, who will be driving your children in this exchange, or if you plan to meet or drop off your children at a predetermined, safe location.

Holidays and Other Special Dates

Holidays, school breaks, vacations, and other special occasions with your family will need to be included in the plan. It can be beneficial to set a pattern in scheduling to help in future years.

Travel and Vacations

Having your children travel with your ex spouse can cause some anxiety to some, so communicating how far in advance trips need to be planned and how expenses will be paid for can make things easier for both parents.

Schedule Changes

Consider how much time ahead is required to propose any changes in your parenting schedule. Include how you each will communicate about changes, and how sudden changes will be determined in case of emergencies.

Important Upbringing Decisions

How you will make decisions about your child’s health care, discipline, religion, family time, and schooling should be discussed within this plan. When co-parenting, the court may already have decided most of this for you, but having these expectations communicated clearly in a parenting plan is necessary to refer back to.


School tuition, medical expenses, hobbies, food, clothing, and much more that goes into the price of raising a child should be discussed ahead of time between both parents. While most of this will be determined in court ruling, it is still important to keep these details in your plan.


When you or your co-parent is not present with your children, make sure to include how you will communicate with your kids in your parenting plan. Phone calls, online messaging, text messages, or video chatting are all different ways of staying in touch with your child while they’re away. This is important to plan especially if one parent may not be able to be with their child as much as the other.

Determining how you and your co-parent will communicate in the future is also important, defining the types of information you will need to discuss and how often communication is necessary.

Legal Aspects 

Physical custody refers to the right and responsibility to supervise their child. Sole physical custody means that their children will reside with one parent, and the other non-custodial parent may have visitation rights if the court believes that visitation is required for the child’s well-being. Parents that have joint physical custody is where the child lives with each parent for specific periods of time.

Child Custody and Visitation Guidance with Azemika Law 

If timing cannot be agreed upon and both parents are unable to come to an arrangement, you will need to go to court and a judge will make custody decisions based on the best interest of your children. A neutral third-party mediator can help parents resolve their issues, and be able to offer advice with experience from other cases they have seen successful.

At Azemika Law, we’re here for you with our practice devoted to family law for 28 years. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody and visitations, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving all of Kern County, we want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions from the best position possible for your future. 

Contact us today to find a family law attorney that can help you create effective plans and build a happy future for you and your children.

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