How To Create a Co-Parenting Agreement That Works for You

When a couple decides to end their marriage, they need to focus on their children’s well-being and make decisions that provide them with stability and normality. This means creating a co-parenting plan that works for everyone involved. A co-parenting plan is a formal agreement between the parents that outlines their roles and responsibilities in raising their child or children. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a co-parenting plan that works for you and your family.

Put Your Child First

Both parents must work together to benefit the children, which involves making decisions that prioritize the child’s welfare. This requires effective communication and cooperation to ensure that both parties can be on the same page regarding the child’s care.

Before creating a co-parenting plan, consider what’s best for your child based on their needs and wants. If your child is old enough, ask what they would like from the co-parenting arrangement and consider their opinions when making decisions.

Evaluate Their Stage of Life

Your child’s age and developmental stage also play a factor in custody. Younger children may need short and frequent visits with each parent to maintain a strong bond with both parents. Likewise, older children may join extracurricular activities through school or camps, which requires them to spend more time in one parent’s home. Create a custody agreement partially based on this schedule to keep the transition smooth for your child. You can also modify the plan as your children get older.

Support Your Child

Moving back and forth between two homes can be challenging for a child. Ensure your children have a bedroom in both houses that remains stocked with all their necessary items, such as toys and hobby items. This will give them a sense of consistency and familiarity, making the transition between homes easier. You don’t want your children to spend their childhood essentially living out of a suitcase.

Supporting your child’s emotional relationship with the other parent is also important. Encourage open communication and allow them to spend quality time with each parent without interference or negative comments. Children should never feel like they have to choose sides or keep secrets from one parent.

Parent Tip

If your child is at your home but misses their other parent, encourage them to call your ex or set up a video call. Nothing is more important than the bond between a parent and child.

Understand the Types of Custody

Another tip for creating a co-parenting plan that works for you is understanding the main types of custody so that you can decide on the ideal option.

The most common types of custody are physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will primarily live, while legal custody mentions who has the authority to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Joint vs. Sole Custody

Joint custody means that both parents have shared rights and responsibilities in making decisions for the child, while sole custody gives one parent full decision-making power.

If you and your ex co-parent your kids, you’ll likely have a form of joint physical and legal custody. The time each parent has with the children depends on their agreement and the Court’s final ruling. For instance, some divorced parents may share custody 50/50; other times, one parent has primary custody, and the other parent has weekend visits or has the children over school breaks. This will also depend on the physical proximity of both parents.

Create a Schedule Together

A parenting schedule should define when the child will be with each parent, who will be responsible for transportation, and who will make decisions about the child’s welfare.

When formulating a co-parenting plan, be as specific and detailed as possible about custody and child support. The more details you include in the agreement, the less room there is for future misunderstandings or disagreements. Some important aspects to cover include:

  • Communication methods between co-parents and with the child
  • Holiday and vacation arrangements
  • Financial responsibilities of each parent
  • Specific pickup and drop-off times and locations

When creating the plan, ensure it’s fair to both parents and accounts for the child’s best interests. Moreover, you may have to divvy up custody on special days and holidays throughout the year to keep the schedule equal.

Be Flexible With Plans

Remember, life doesn’t always go as planned, so you and your ex should be flexible. As you create your co-parenting plan, you may have to make sacrifices to accommodate your child’s needs. While you may be divorced, you and your ex share children who need your love and support so they can flourish. Put aside any negative feelings for the sake of your children’s well-being.

Maintain Healthy Communication

Establish a consistent method of communication with your co-parent, such as regular phone calls, text messages, or emails. Bring up any concerns about your child with your ex to address them as soon as possible.

The communication should always be respectful, devoid of blame, and centered on the well-being of the child. When conflicts arise, you should stay composed and find a mutually agreeable solution, especially around your kids.

Establish Necessary Boundaries

Agreeing to clear boundaries around communication is crucial, especially regarding sensitive topics like money, dating, or new relationships. These boundaries are vital in minimizing conflicts and maintaining healthy communication between parties.

If your ex brings up a sensitive topic, stay calm and respectfully address the issue. When possible, express your boundary and ask to change the subject.

Understand the Modification Process

Sometimes, life circumstances could impact the co-parenting plan you have put in place. In such a case, both parents must sit down for a talk and make the necessary changes.

Situations such as job loss, relocation, or a shift in your child’s school schedule may warrant updates to the agreed-upon parenting plans. For these changes to occur, both parties should communicate and consider what’s in their child’s best interest. If you need to modify an existing agreement, you’ll have to reach out to your ex and contact an attorney before submitting a request to the Court.

Hire a Family Law Lawyer

Creating a legally binding co-parenting plan can be complex, so hiring a family law custody attorney is beneficial. Additionally, a legal professional can mediate and make negotiations between both parties. An attorney can advise you on your rights and what parenting plan will work best for you and the children.

Loving parents have equal rights to bond with their children. In Colorado, judges always put the children’s needs first. You have a strong custody case if you can provide your child with a safe and loving home.

Contact Jones Law Firm, PC

At Jones Law Firm, PC, we believe that children thrive when they have a healthy relationship with both parents. We can provide you with legal assistance as you create a child custody plan in Denver, Colorado. Book your free consultation today to begin working with our team.

How To Create a Co-Parenting Agreement That Works for You

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).