What I Wish I Put in My Parenting Plan?

Updated: January 1, 2024 | Published:

Explore key insights into creating a robust parenting plan, focusing on detailed scheduling, financial management, healthcare decisions, and educational involvement. This guide also highlights the importance of effective co-parenting communication, adapting to new family dynamics, and the nuances of travel and relocation, all while preparing for future changes and disputes. This is a vital read for those navigating the complexities of co-parenting.

Parenting plans are essential roadmaps for navigating the often tumultuous journey of co-parenting post-divorce. However, hindsight is 20/20, and there’s always something we wish we had included. Drawing from personal experience and extensive research, here’s a comprehensive guide to what should have been in my parenting plan.

The Intricacies of Time Management

A parenting plan should be more than just a calendar; it’s a dynamic document that anticipates and accommodates the unpredictable nature of life. The basics, like holidays, vacations, and special occasions, need detailed scheduling, but emergencies and sudden changes must also be considered. For instance, OurFamilyWizard suggests planning holiday parenting time years for stability.

Navigating Financial Responsibilities

Navigating Financial Responsibilities

Discussing and dividing financial responsibilities is crucial. It’s not just about child support; it’s about understanding and agreeing on the nitty-gritty of day-to-day expenses, healthcare costs, and education fees. The importance of financial transparency and regular updates cannot be overstated, as noted by TalkingParents​.

Healthcare and Medical Decisions

A well-thought-out parenting plan addresses routine healthcare, emergency protocols, and health insurance. It’s vital to agree on who handles what, from routine doctor appointments to unexpected medical emergencies. Extraordinary medical expenses, a topic often overlooked, should also be discussed, as One Accord Legal, LLC highlights​. Read, How Much Does It Cost to Modify a Parenting Plan?

Education and Extracurricular Activities

Schooling decisions and extracurricular activities form a significant part of a child’s life. The parenting plan should outline not just which school the child attends but also parental involvement in extracurricular activities.

The Art of Co-Parent Communication

Effective co-parenting hinges on robust communication. The plan should specify communication methods and decision-making processes, especially for critical areas like healthcare, schooling, and religious upbringing. Psychology Today emphasizes the importance of clear communication in co-parenting​.

Managing New Relationships and Extended Family Dynamics

Introducing new partners and managing extended family relationships can be sensitive topics. Setting ground rules for these introductions is essential. For instance, Psychology Today narrates how one parent’s prior knowledge of the other’s remarriage helped manage the children’s reaction to the news​.

7. Guidelines for Travel and Relocation

Travel and relocation can be sources of contention in co-parenting. Planning and notification requirements for vacations and guidelines for potential relocations should be part of the parenting plan. OurFamilyWizard provides insights into managing travel and vacations in co-parenting scenarios​.

Preparing for Disputes and Amendments

Disputes are inevitable, but having a pre-agreed resolution method can save time and emotional turmoil. One legal firm suggests outlining methods for dispute resolution, preferably without resorting to court​. Read, How to Get on the Same Page with Your Spouse about Parenting?


In hindsight, my parenting plan could have been more than just a document outlining the basics of co-parenting. It should have been a comprehensive guide that addressed every aspect of our children’s lives, from the mundane to the exceptional. Every co-parenting journey is unique, but with a well-thought-out plan, the journey can be smoother and more predictable for everyone involved.

FAQs about What I Wish I Put in My Parenting Plan

  1. What should be included in the holiday schedule of a parenting plan?

    A holiday schedule in a parenting plan should cover major holidays, school breaks, and special family occasions. It’s important to plan for alternating holidays between parents or splitting them and considering extended vacations. The goal is to create a fair and predictable schedule for parents and children. OurFamilyWizard provides guidelines for setting up holiday schedules in advance​.

  2. How are financial responsibilities divided in a parenting plan?

    Financial responsibilities in a parenting plan typically include child support, medical expenses, education costs, and day-to-day living expenses. The plan should detail how these costs are shared, the division of responsibilities, and how financial transparency is maintained. TalkingParents suggests using tools for tracking and sharing expenses to facilitate this process​.

  3. What provisions should be made for medical decisions in a parenting plan?

    A parenting plan should outline routine medical decisions, including who is responsible for health insurance and managing emergency medical situations. Additionally, it’s important to consider how extraordinary medical expenses will be handled. One Accord Legal, LLC emphasizes including these details in the plan​.

  4. How do you manage introducing new relationships to children in a parenting plan?

    When introducing new relationships to children, setting guidelines in the parenting plan is important. This can include when and how children are informed about new partners and ensuring that both parents are comfortable with the timing and manner of the introduction. Psychology Today discusses the importance of handling this sensitively for the children’s well-being​.

  5. What are the guidelines for travel and relocation in a parenting plan?

    For travel and relocation, the parenting plan should include guidelines on planning for trips, notification requirements, and how to handle longer vacations. In relocation cases, the plan should address how this will affect custody and visitation arrangements. OurFamilyWizard provides insights into incorporating travel and relocation guidelines in a parenting plan​.


About Amy T. Smith

Amy is a mother, writer, and your go-to expert for real-life insights into parenting, health, and lifestyle. Amy holds a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and prides herself on finding actionable tips and relatable tales.

Through her blog, AmyandRose, she supports you from pregnancy to the teenage years, offering assurance that your experiences are shared.

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