Even amicable, relatively uncomplicated divorces take some time. Further, you and your spouse may be separated for months or even longer before you even decide to divorce. If you have children, that means a lot of confusion and anxiety.
Putting a parenting plan in place as early as possible after you begin sharing custody across two different homes can make things a little less stressful for everyone. You can then make the necessary adjustments to this parenting plan as you see what works and what doesn’t as you create your child custody and support agreements and parenting plan that will be part of your divorce agreement.
What should you address in your separation parenting plan?
This will depend on your children’s ages and other factors. However, you’ll probably need to include the following:
- Your parenting schedule: Where your children will be on which days and how the exchanges will be handled
- How their expenses will be divided and reimbursed
- Agreed-on rules for your kids across both homes regarding things like homework, bedtime and more
- How and how often you’ll communicate about your children: It’s not too soon to start using a co-parenting app.
- What decisions need to be made by both parents: Remember that you both still have legal custody and decision-making authority.
- When your children will have other caregivers (for example, after school) and who they’ll be
You’ll probably also need to work out things like how expenses for the family home will be handled if one of you and your kids are remaining there for the time being. You may need to put some kind of spousal support agreement in place also.
If you’re able to work out these temporary arrangements amicably, you may not need legal guidance to do so. However, it’s typically best not to go for too long without codified temporary agreements in place. They can help you avoid conflicts that can spill over into your divorce negotiations. They can also give you a starting point for negotiating permanent ones if you proceed with your divorce.