Creating a schedule and plan for caring for your children after divorce may require a level head and compromise. Family law judges in Massachusetts prefer that parents reach an agreement without the court handing down an order.

A parenting plan is the foundation of your post-divorce life with children. There are several elements that courts expect and some that you may choose to include. Find out what some of these things are before diving in.

Parenting schedule and exceptions

The time the children are with each parent is the fundamental part of a parenting plan. As such, a schedule setting forth the terms of parenting time is crucial. Not only does it allow the parents to reflect on their abilities to make the time work, but it also gives the children a sense of when they will visit each home. Whether the children attend school or not, the parenting time schedule should also include how the transfer of the children’s care will occur and alternative schedules for holidays and breaks.

Co-parenting agreements

Learning how to co-parent effectively after divorce involves setting expectations. A parenting plan is a place for you to set out any agreements you and your former spouse make, such as handling scheduling conflicts and how you plan to communicate with each other. You may want to add additional scenarios such as after school activities and when children should call the other parent.

The parenting plan serves as a guideline for how you and your former spouse should handle your children. The goal is that through effective co-parenting, the plan will evolve and remain centered around the best interests of the children.