The 3 common mistakes in Parenting Plans and how to avoid them

The Parenting Plan. This is the document that provides the "rules" for co-parenting with your former spouse. Even though your relationship did not work out, you have kids together. You are going to have to parent from different households. The Parenting Plan can provide a firm foundation for this co-parenting relationship, but only if it is done RIGHT. Here are 3 COMMON MISTAKES in Parenting Plans and how to avoid them:

  1. Failing to think about Summer School: Many school districts are moving to a near year round schedule. Meanwhile, many parenting schedules use summer as a way to equalize the time between the parents. How will the summer schedule change if a child needs to go to Summer School or is required? How will the parents cooperate to make a decision about summer school when the parents living in different locations? Think about requiring a deadline for assessing the summer school issue each year and how that may change the parenting schedule.

  2. Failing to consider your child’s feelings at the holidays: Everyone wants to spend time with the kids at Christmas. Christmas morning is filled with wonder and amazement, especially for little kids. As a practical matter, though, please avoid exchanges Christmas morning before noon or you will risk disappointing your child who, no doubt, will want to spend some time playing with their new treasures before going to the other parent’s home.

  3. Analyzing the tax dependency benefit: A parenting plan specifies who gets to claim a child on taxes. Before arguing about who will claim the children on taxes each year, spend some time with a tax professional analyzing how the deduction will impact each parent. It may be more or less than you think! Also be mindful of the other tax issues, such as the child care credit, and who will claim those expenses.The Parenting Plan. This is the document that provides the "rules" for co-parenting with your former spouse. Even though your relationship did not work out, you have kids together. You are going to have to parent from different households. The Parenting Plan can provide a firm foundation for this co-parenting relationship, but only if it is done RIGHT. Here are 3 COMMON MISTAKES in Parenting Plans and how to avoid them: Failing to think about Summer School: Many school districts are moving to a near year round schedule. Meanwhile, many parenting schedules use summer as a way to equalize the time between the parents. How will the summer schedule change if a child needs to go to Summer School or is required? How will the parents cooperate to make a decision about summer school when the parents living in different locations? Think about requiring a deadline for assessing the summer school issue each year and how that may change the parenting schedule.Failing to consider your child’s feelings at the holidays: Everyone wants to spend time with the kids at Christmas. Christmas morning is filled with wonder and amazement, especially for little kids. As a practical matter, though, please avoid exchanges Christmas morning before noon or you will risk disappointing your child who, no doubt, will want to spend some time playing with their new treasures before going to the other parent’s home.Analyzing the tax dependency benefit: A parenting plan specifies who gets to claim a child on taxes. Before arguing about who will claim the children on taxes each year, spend some time with a tax professional analyzing how the deduction will impact each parent. It may be more or less than you think! Also be mindful of the other tax issues, such as the child care credit, and who will claim those expenses.

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