One of the tasks you will be asked to complete during your child custody case is to create a parenting plan for your child.

A parenting plan should contain the custody arrangements for your child and some basic philosophies for raising your child. Your plan, once approved by the court, shall become a binding contract that both you and your ex will be legally obligated to follow.

The task of creating a parenting plan may seem overwhelming and you may have no idea where to start. Some courts have forms available for you to fill out but the language can be vague or too technical and you may not have the space or the opportunity to include everything you want to put in your plan.

Child custody software is an option you may want to explore. It is easy to create a parenting plan when you have a parenting plan template at your fingertips. If you elect to use child custody software, you should look for software that has positive reviews and has been approved by both parents and attorneys.

Your parenting plan doesn’t have to be written in “legalese”. The contents of your plan should be written in a clear and concise manner and be easy for anyone to understand.

When you create your plan using plain English, you ensure the contents of your documents will not be left open to interpretation. The contents of your plan should be unmistakable. This will help you to avoid conflict about the plan in the future.

A good parenting plan template should be easy to use, easy to understand, and allow you to add all of the provisions you would like to include.

Your parenting plan should contain a statement that addresses legal custody and who will be responsible for the major decisions in the child’s life. You can address specific issues and divide responsibility between the parents if you would like to.

Your parenting plan should address physical custody and include a child visitation schedule. Your schedule should include holidays and vacations as well as a regular residential schedule.

Your parenting plan should contain methods for reviewing and modifying the plan. You should also include a method of dispute resolution in case you need help solving disagreements in the future.

Your plan should include rules that address the specific needs of your child. Anything you feel is important may be included in the plan, including methods of communication, common house rules (bedtime, curfew, whether or not a punishment from one house will carry over to the other, etc.) that will help establish continuity between the two homes, how to handle extra expenses, a first right of refusal clause, etc.

You should put a lot of thought and consideration into your plan. Using template should allow you the space and freedom to customize a plan specifically for your child. Using a court form may limit the amount of information you are able to include.

Regardless of the method you use to create your parenting plan, your custody arrangements should meet the needs of your child and allow both parents to participate in your child’s upbringing.

Author's Bio: 

Christal Stephens is an advocate for children's custody rights and has written extensively on the subjects of custody, divorce, and parenting. She lives on a small farm in rural Utah with her husband and four children.