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What to Include in Your 2020 Parenting Plan


Whether you're negotiating a new child custody arrangement or improving your old one, taking the right steps when drafting your parenting plan lays the foundation for positive co-parenting and parent-child relationships.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have found their current parenting plans leave something to be desired. Today, we're covering what you should include in your 2020 parenting plan to make it airtight.

Develop a Clause Preventing Parents from Disparaging One Another

This is one of the most overlooked ways to help build a healthy co-parenting relationship using your parenting plan.

If both parents in a co-parenting dynamic consistently disparage one another, it often results in the child feeling like they have to "take sides." Regardless of how you feel about your co-parent, you shouldn't want your child to feel torn between their parental figures.

Generally speaking, the less tension you introduce into the co-parenting dynamic, the better your parent-child relationship will be, and the easier it will be to help your child thrive.

Make Sure Both Parents Use the Same Boundaries

You don't need to agree with your co-parent about every aspect of your child's life, but you should both use the same behavioral and disciplinary boundaries for your child whenever possible.

Work with your co-parent to develop boundaries for things like social media use and gaming that you can both agree are reasonable. Additionally, negotiate disciplinary tactics that you both agree to use if your child violates the boundaries or rules you set. Then, make adhering to those boundaries and guidelines a formal part of your parenting plan.

If one parent is noticeably less strict than the other, it can quickly cause a "good cop, bad cop" dynamic to develop between the parents. You want to avoid that at all costs, and incorporating boundaries into your parenting plan is the easiest way to do so.

Think About How You'll Handle the 2020/2021 School Year

At this point, most parents have already adjusted their parenting plan to reflect the impact of COVID-19, adjusting for complications like job losses, the risk of acting as an essential worker, how to help your kids succeed with online learning, etc.

Now, it's time to be proactive and think about the future.

The Trump administration has indicated its desire to reopen schools in the summer, but doctors and many academic officials are critical of that trajectory, saying it could expose children and teachers alike to the coronavirus.

Now's the time to start talking about how you want to handle the upcoming school year. Figure out what your school board is proposing. Talk with other parents to learn where they stand. Discuss the issue with a medical professional, like a primary care physician (if possible). Consider CDC guidelines for caring for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The more information you have, the easier it will be to truly pursue your child's best interests. Whatever you decide to do, both parents should be on the same page.

At William Kirby, Family Law Attorney, we help parents navigate complex custody issues.

To arrange a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (215) 515-9901.