Custom Parenting Plan Development

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a legal document within family law. This document outlines where children will live after their parents’ separation or divorce. This plan specifically outlines which parent the children will be with on a day-to-day basis, including holidays, special occasions, and summer vacations. 

Why a Parenting Plan Is One of the Most Crucial Steps in the Divorce Process

Creating an effective parenting plan is essential for the future mental health of your children. It should ensure that they will have access to both parents on a regular and predictable basis which is essential for their long-term happiness. This plan should be tailored to your children’s specific ages and developmental needs, as well as to your unique family obligations and needs.   


What Does a Parenting Plan Entail?

The details of a parenting plan will be very specific. An effective plan will explain the details of the transition between homes and how these transitions will occur.

It will also outline what will happen if one parent is unavailable during a time when they are scheduled to have the child.

The parenting plan should always be developed with the best interest of your children as the priority.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Parenting Plan

Unfortunately, the specific needs of the children are not always adequately addressed when creating parenting plans. In litigated divorces through the family court system,  the judge is the one who will ultimately decide the details of your parenting plan, such as who gets physical custody and how much time the child spends with each parent.

The decision of the judge may not always best reflect the needs of your child or, indeed, your family situation.

The process of developing a parenting plan can also be negatively impacted by the painful emotions that the divorce has caused. This is often the case in very contentious and antagonistic divorces where at least one parent has been deeply hurt or traumatized. In these situations,  the children’s needs can easily get lost as the decisions being made are  based on those painful emotions.

What Should You Consider When Creating a Parenting Plan? A Co-Parenting Plan Checklist

  • What are your children’s particular ages and needs and what role will they play  in determining the kind of parenting plan that will be the healthiest for them?
  • What type of arrangement will ensure your children’s best chance at a happy and healthy future?
  • How might the parenting plan affect older children who may have changing needs, such as starting higher education or requiring a private bedroom?
  • What specific communication strategies will allow your family to share important information with each other?
  • What end goals are you looking to meet when creating this plan? A schedule that allows for each parent having an equal amount of time , or some different arrangement?
  • Can you fully commit to the schedule that you are hoping to create?. Creating a plan that you are unable to consistently follow will inevitably lead to further conflict and disappointment.

Parenting Schedules

The parenting time schedule will also explain how this arrangement might change over specific periods of the year, such as summer vacations or school vacations.

The plan will also take into account major seasonal holidays and which parent the children spend time with during these times.

It will also outline how this can change from year to year – such as a different parent having the child on a certain holiday in alternating years under shared parenting.

How Dr. Ellis Can Help

Dr. Ellis is a licensed child psychologist and has worked with over 1,000 families over the past 30 years. She is also a child of divorce herself. Her unique perspective and deep expertise will help to remove much of the stress, guilt, and conflict from the parenting planning process.

As a child psychologist, she understands the unique developmental needs of children of different ages, as well as those with special needs, going through a divorce, and she will help you consider those needs when making these important decisions. Her child-centered approach will begin with helping you identify your children’s and your family’s specific needs.

Develop a Custom Parenting Plan with Dr. Ellis' Expertise

You will be asked to consider:

  • Your children’s ages
  • Any special needs that they have
  • Your work schedules and other factors that might impact your availability for parenting time

She will then guide you in creating a parenting plan that addresses all these factors while managing the emotions that have the potential to derail this decision-making process. You will play an active role in making all these important choices and will walk away with a plan tailored specifically to your, your family’s, and your children’s particular needs, rather than a cookie-cutter plan developed for you by a judge or attorneys.