Washington parents understand how important it is to help their children navigate the transitions and difficult emotions that arise when parents decide to end their marriage. The youngest members of the family often have the most difficult time with a divorce, but there are things you can do to make this an easier process for them. One way you can do this is by crafting a reasonable, sustainable parenting plan.

A parenting plan includes all of the details regarding how you and your spouse will raise the children after divorce. By crafting your plan through discussions, mutual cooperation and negotiations, you can avoid allowing a court to make these important decisions on your behalf. You can customize your plan to suit your individual needs and your goals for your post-divorce life.

The details of your plan 

What you include in your parenting plan matters. Instead of focusing on your own feelings, it can help to focus on the needs and well-being of your children above all else. A parenting plan works best when it is thorough, intentional and sustainable for years to come. By answering the following questions, you can determine what you will need to put in your parenting plan:

  • Which parent will have legal custody or how will parents share decision-making authority for the children?
  • How will parents share visitation time, and what are the procedures for transitioning kids between two homes?
  • Which parent is responsible for certain financial expenses and things the kids may need?
  • How will you and the other parent share summer vacation and holiday traditions?
  • How and when will children have access to extended family members?
  • What will parents do in the event a dispute or disagreement arises at some point in the future?

Your answers to these questions can help you understand what you may need to include in order to ensure your children have the best, most stable post-divorce future possible. 

Work to protect your parental rights

You can work for an agreement that respects your parental rights and allows your children to have a strong relationship with both parents after your divorce is final. If you are unsure of how to do this or what your custody rights are, it may help to first discuss your concerns with a legal professional before making any important decisions that can impact your future.