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Before making a parenting plan, know these 6 facts

Co-parenting is a challenge for all divorced parents, even those who are on relatively good terms. A sensible parenting plan can go a long way toward establishing a workable arrangement. Here are a few tips for creating a parenting plan for your divorce.

If you cannot agree, a judge will make the decision

A judge will not wait for you to come up with a parenting agreement if you're delaying or unable to agree. The judge may determine a parenting plan for you, and the judge's only requirement is to do what's in the best interest of your child.

Your kids' needs will change as they grow older Once your child reaches an age where he or she can drive, it's going to be much harder to know where he or she is and to control your parenting time. At that point, it may be time to discuss boundaries and your parenting arrangements. Make them more flexible, and you may see an improvement in your child's behaviors.

There is no typical parenting plan

Every family is unique. Your parenting plan must reflect your family's unique needs, including your schedule, what's best for your child, your child's extracurricular activities and your ex-spouse's schedule.

Unrestricted email or phone calls can work

What do you do if your child longs for the other parent while he or she is with you? Allowing for open communication through the phone or email helps make sure your child feels respected and heard. Allowing contact may reassure your child. If you worry about those calls, consider a co-call with your child and the other parent.

Corporal punishment: Not the best idea

In most courts, corporal punishment is seen as negative. Physically hurting a child can hurt your case in court and your relationship with your child if the punishment occurs often.

Prepare to pay for shared medical expenses

Children get hurt, and child support may be in excess of medical bills and other needs your child has. Include a clause in your agreement to state when you want to know about extraordinary expenses ahead of time to make a joint decision on payment -- for example, if the amount exceeds $1,000.

These are just a few of many tips your attorney can discuss with you at length. Parenting your child together gives your daughters and/or sons a good chance to know both parents and to grow with your united support. Consider these tips and do your best to work together. With the right help, your plan can work harmoniously with your child's schedu le as well as your own.

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