A co-parenting plan is a written agreement (notarized by the court) outlining how parents in Louisiana will raise their kids after divorce or separation. You can create this document on your own with the other parent following your child custody arrangement, or you can use your lawyers.
Reasons why a parenting plan is important
After a judge makes a ruling on your child custody and visitation arrangements, it’ll be upon you to make it work with the other parent. If you can do so without a co-parenting plan, that’s great. But if you think there will be any confusion or disagreement about how to handle visitation, custody, or any other parenting matter, a co-parenting plan can help.
A written parenting plan removes ambiguity and provides specific answers to common questions that arise after divorce, such as:
- How will we make decisions about our child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing?
- What are the expectations for each parent’s involvement in our child’s extracurricular activities?
- What should we do if one of us wants to move out of state with our child?
- How will we communicate with each other about our child’s progress in school or health?
Important tips when creating a parenting plan
Regardless of the state of your relationship with the other parent, it’s crucial for you to prioritize the best interest of your children over your feelings. This is because such a motive will enable you to make compromises that work for everyone. Letting your emotions take the lead can prevent you from understanding your ex’s situation, making it difficult for them to be involved in your child’s life.
You should also make your plan very specific and clear. Confusion in your arrangements can defeat the purpose of creating a parenting plan, which is to avoid conflict. If everything appears perfect, have it in writing and get the court to notarize it.
A co-parenting plan can help you avoid potential conflict down the road and provide stability for your children during a time of transition. It is important to remember that your parenting plan will likely need to be modified as your children grow older and their needs change. But having a written agreement in place from the start will give you a framework to work from as you adjust to your new family dynamic.