Co-parenting may be less difficult for divorced parents in Michigan who have spent time constructing a plan that sets them up for success. Going beyond simply creating a plan that addresses the basics can give parents a framework for resolving conflict.
The core of a parenting plan should be that nothing is assumed. By spelling out who is responsible for what, misunderstandings can be avoided. This means including not just days and times for custody but what parents plan to do for holidays and vacations. The plan can also address who is primarily responsible for such things as teacher conferences and taking children to the doctor.
However, the parenting plan is about more than how time and duties are shared based on the child custody agreement. Parents should also think about their values and what kind of rules they want their children to follow at home. They might address things such as bedtime, homework and having friends over. There may also be particular areas where parents anticipate conflict. A counselor, therapist or mediator may be able to help parents talk through and come to a compromise on these issues even if the rules for each household differs.
Parents may also want to include an agreement for how they will handle changes or conflict that arise in the future. In addition, they can specify how they will communicate. In coparenting relationships where the possibility of conflict is high, software designed for divorced parents can help facilitate better communication.
Parenting plans are likely to change over time as children get older and their wants and needs change. An effective parenting plan anticipates and allows for flexibility. While the initial process of creating a detailed plan may be challenging, it can pay off over the long run for parents and children.