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Parenting plan 101: What to expect

Raising a child after divorce can be an extraordinary challenge, especially when the other parent is someone you no longer love or even like. However, parents all across Tennessee do this every day so keep in mind that even when it seems hopeless, it is indeed possible to co-parent after divorce.

One resource that makes it possible is your parenting plan. As stated by the Tennessee courts, parenting plans are designed to help two people raise their children together but separately in a way that prioritizes the best interests of the kids. If you are getting divorced, you should know what you can expect to see as part of your own parenting plan.

Parenting time and schedules

One of the most critical elements of your parenting plan will be the schedules. These will dictate when your child will be with each parent. Not only will this include regular weekly schedules, but it should also address holidays, summer vacations and special circumstances that may arise.

Guidelines on raising your child

You don't have to agree on everything when it comes to raising your child, but you and your ex want to set expectations. With this in mind, you might decide to specify your intentions regarding areas like discipline, religion, education, extracurricular activities and safety in your parenting plan. You can also make clear which style of parenting plan you will pursue. Do you intend to raise your kids collaboratively, or will it be more of a parallel style?


What to do when a dispute arises

Your parenting plan should also include directions on how to resolve disputes that arise. Too often, parents jump to threats of legal action, even when an argument is relatively minor. Including instructions for how to communicate about disagreements and which avenues to pursue in regard to dispute resolution can give you the critical guidance you need to minimize contention.

These are just a few of the critical details you can discuss and define for the purposes of creating a comprehensive and effective parenting plan. While it can undoubtedly be difficult to hash out these elements with your ex, you must remember that it is your job to protect your kids and their well-being. Having a strong, clear plan in place for the future can be a vital part of this.

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Lisa Collins Werner Family Law & Mediation Compassion. Experience. Results

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