Creating a Co-Parenting Plan: What to Include and Why


As a divorce coach, I see firsthand the impact that separation and divorce can have on families, especially children. One of the biggest challenges for parents is navigating co-parenting after a split.

A well-crafted co-parenting plan can help establish clear communication and boundaries, providing stability and structure for children during this difficult time.

Creating a co-parenting plan may seem disheartening at first, but it’s an important step in providing what is best for the children.

Let’s explore what to include in your co-parenting plan and why each piece is important. Whether you’re just beginning the process or looking to refine your current arrangement, these tips will help set you up for success as you navigate parenting post-divorce.

Prioritizing The Child’s Needs

Prioritizing the child’s needs is key when creating a co-parenting plan.

From the child’s perspective, it can be overwhelming and confusing to navigate through two separate households.

A parent’s involvement in the child’s life should include attending school events, doctor appointments, extracurricular activities, and making important decisions together that affect the child’s well-being. Unfortunately, not all parents are involved in these activities, and these activities can fall on one parent.

By placing emphasis on what is best for the child, parents can create a more stable environment for their children during this transition period of divorce or separation.

Establishing Communication Guidelines

One of the most important parts of successful co-parenting is establishing communication guidelines. This is even more important when you are dealing with an abusive ex-spouse. Setting boundaries and coordinating schedules can be challenging, but it’s important to make sure that both parents understand the boundaries and what the children have going on.

To make communication easier and more effective, consider these two tips:

– Be respectful: Even if conversations get heated, or emotions run high, always treat each other with respect. Avoid yelling or using degrading or disparaging language. Whether you are communicating in person or using technology, be respectful to each other.

– Use technology: Communicating through text messages, emails, or court-ordered parenting apps can provide a written record of important discussions and agreements. This lets both parties respond at their convenience and after they think through how best to respond. It also makes for great documentation if ever needed in court.

Setting clear communication expectations from the start will help keep some of the issues to a minimum.

Determining Custody And Visitation Arrangements

Picture this: two ships on the high seas, each with its own captain and crew. These captains are co-parents navigating their way through the often stormy waters of divorce and custody arrangements.

Joint decision-making is important to make sure that both parties have a say in important matters concerning their children’s upbringing. Parenting time schedules must also be consistent to provide stability for the children and allow for quality time with each parent.

It’s important for both parents to approach these decisions with open communication, flexibility, and empathy toward one another’s needs and limitations. With careful consideration and collaboration, these co-captains can steer their ships toward a smooth sailing future for themselves and their children.

Addressing Conflict Resolution Strategies

When co-parenting, it’s inevitable that conflicts will arise. It’s important to address these issues head-on and have a plan in place for resolving them.

Mediation services can be an effective option for working through disagreements with the help of a neutral third party. Therapy may also be helpful for individuals or the entire family to work on communication and coping skills when dealing with conflict.

It’s important to set guidelines and a plan for how conflicts will be resolved within your co-parenting plan. This should include setting expectations for respectful communication, identifying potential trigger points, and outlining steps to take if conflicts cannot be resolved between you.

By addressing conflict resolution strategies proactively, you can minimize future disputes and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Reviewing And Updating The Plan Regularly

As the saying goes, ‘the only constant in life is change.’ This applies to co-parenting plans as well. It’s essential to review and update your plan regularly to ensure it still meets your family’s needs.

Life events such as job changes, relocations, or remarriage can impact your parenting arrangement.

Involving a mediator, GAL, or a Parenting Coordinator (PC) can be helpful when making major changes to the plan. They can provide an objective perspective and facilitate productive conversations between both parties.

By consistently reviewing and updating your co-parenting plan, you’ll have a more effective tool for creating stability and harmony for your children during life’s inevitable changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Ensure That My Co-Parenting Plan Is Legally Binding?

To make sure that your co-parenting plan is legally binding, there are certain meeting requirements and legal documentation you need to consider.

As a Divorce Coach, I highly recommend seeking the assistance of a family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help draft your plan in accordance with state laws.

This includes including relevant information such as custody arrangements, visitation schedules, financial support agreements, and any other important details related to raising your children together.

By having a solid co-parenting plan and taking all necessary steps to make it legally binding, you will set yourself up for success in creating a healthy and positive environment for your children post-divorce.

Can I Include Rules For Introducing New Romantic Partners In The Co-Parenting Plan?

When drafting a co-parenting plan, it is natural to consider including rules for introducing new romantic partners. Before doing this, parents should take into account the child’s perspective and prioritize their well-being.

Dating guidelines in the co-parenting plan can help set boundaries and expectations for both parents when it comes to introducing new partners to the children. It is important to approach this topic with sensitivity and open communication between co-parents, as well as being mindful of any potential impact on the child’s emotional state.

Including dating guidelines in a co-parenting plan can be beneficial if done thoughtfully and with consideration for all parties involved. As a divorce coach, I often talk with my clients and remind them that if they ask for a specific rule to think about if they are also willing to follow that rule. 

How Do I Handle Situations Where One Parent Consistently Violates The Co-Parenting Plan?

When one parent consistently violates the co-parenting plan, it can be frustrating and even damaging to the children involved.

The first step is always communication – try to address the issue with the other parent in a calm and respectful manner.

If that fails, consider seeking legal alternatives such as mediation or involving your lawyer.

It’s important to remember that the best interests of the children should always come first, so finding ways to work together despite any issues is ideal.

As a divorce coach, I recommend focusing on effective communication strategies and keeping an open mind when working toward solutions.

Should The Co-Parenting Plan Include Details About Transportation Arrangements For The Child?

As a Divorce Coach, I highly recommend including transportation arrangements for the child in your co-parenting plan if you have joint custody.

Imagine the stress of your child waiting for hours at school or feeling lost because there was no clear agreement on who will pick them up.

This is why it’s crucial to include specific details about transportation, such as drop-off and pick-up times and locations, who will cover the expenses, and what happens when one parent can’t make it.

This can prevent conflicts between parents regarding child support payments related to transportation costs.

Adding these details to your co-parenting plan ensures that both parties are accountable and helps maintain stability and consistency for your child.

Is It Necessary To Involve A Mediator, Therapist, Or Divorce Coach In The Creation Of A Co-Parenting Plan?

In order to successfully create a co-parenting plan that benefits the well-being of your child, it may be necessary to involve a mediator, therapist, or divorce coach

The role of communication is key in this process, and having an unbiased third party can help promote productive conversations between both parents.

A mediator, therapist, or divorce coach can provide guidance on how to effectively communicate with each other, which ultimately leads to a more successful co-parenting relationship.

While some may feel unsure about involving outside parties, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits for your child’s emotional health and stability.


Creating a co-parenting plan can be a difficult task, but it is important for the well-being of your child.

Remember that this plan should be legally binding and include clear guidelines for introducing new romantic partners, transportation arrangements, and handling situations where one parent violates the agreement.

You may also want to consider involving a mediator,  therapist, or divorce coach in the creation of your plan to ensure that both parties are heard and supported.

Just like building a house requires a solid foundation, creating a co-parenting plan provides structure and stability for you and your child’s future.

It may not be easy, but by taking the time to create an effective co-parenting plan, you’re laying the groundwork for successful communication with your ex-partner and setting the stage for healthy relationships moving forward.Don’t let fear hold you back from creating a bright future for yourself and your child – take charge of your co-parenting journey today!

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