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Making sure your parenting plan will work long-term

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do during a divorce is to work for a custody and parenting plan that protects your children's best interests above all else. Divorce is difficult, and it's not always easy to work with the other parent on matters that will affect your relationship with your kids. It is in the interests of every member of your family to have a parenting plan that makes sense long-term.

When creating a parenting plan, it is smart to think beyond how you feel in the moment or what makes sense for today. This means considering your kids' needs, your co-parent's abilities and other factors that will affect your family. When you have the right things in your parenting plan, it will lead to more stability and a lower chance of continued disputes in the future.

What's in your plan? 

Your Utah family is unique, and your parenting plan should be unique, too. You can create a plan that suits your needs and the needs of your kids, as well as account for things that may be specific to your situation, such as your non-traditional work schedule or medical needs your kids have. Some things you may want to consider for your plan include: 

  • Consistency in daily life -- You and the other parent may want to talk through specific things to make daily life as consistent as possible as your kids go between homes. This includes things like schoolwork, discipline and more.
  • Childcare and extracurricular activities -- Your parenting should include details regarding how you will handle and pay for things like childcare and activities your kids do. This will reduce disputes and unexpected expenses.
  • Family events and vacations -- It will be beneficial for your family if you include details regarding how you will share time for vacations, school breaks and events that are with different family members.
  • Clothing and daily needs -- You may want to address simple things such as clothes and daily needs in your parenting plans. These small things can become a big deal, and addressing it now will make things easier for everyone.

It can help to remember that the more thorough and detailed a parenting plan is, the less likely it is that you will find yourself fighting with a former spouse about custody and visitation issues after the divorce is final. Through a thoughtful and clear parenting plan, you have the opportunity to give your children stability and security, as well as peace of mind for yourself.

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