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How to create an effective parenting plan

One of the biggest challenges you may face as a divorced North Dakota parent is in dealing with custody and visitation. The foundation of effective co-parenting is a strong plan, which you will create during the divorce process.

Focusing on your child

There are a few things to keep in mind as you are creating this plan. The best approach is to try to address any major areas of likely conflict in specific ways while not making the plan overly rigid. In addition to a regular schedule for the child, your parenting plan should also address vacations and holidays. Leaving this to the last minute can cause conflict. You are probably going to have to compromise on certain things. Above all, you should prioritize the best interests of your child.

Communication and conflict

Good communication is important, and this means listening as well as talking. Some parents include the communication method they will use in the parenting plan. A good option for many parents is software designed for child custody situations. Agreeing to communicate in writing can help reduce some of the emotions and potential for conflict that could come up if parents talk on the phone or in person. These programs also keep records of communication. Parents might also want to include an agreement in the parenting plan about how they will handle conflict resolution. For example, they may agree to see a mediator if they cannot resolve an issue. It is worth keeping in mind that even parents who stay together will nearly always have at least some occasional conflicts, so these are likely to occur even in the best co-parenting relationship.

Other issues

Typical points parents may address in the parenting plan are things like bedtime and other household rules. It is common to agree on when children will meet parents’ new partners.

If parents need to make major changes to the visitation schedule, they may want to return to court. However, for most issues, judges generally prefer that parents try to resolve them on their own.