By: Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed Divorce or separation can be a challenging time for families, particularly when there are children involved. One of the most important things to consider during this time is creating a parenting plan that outlines how you and your co-parent will raise and care for your children after separation. In this blog post, we will discuss how to prepare a parenting plan when divorcing or separating. Start with the basics The first step in preparing a parenting plan is to consider the basics of your children’s lives. You should think about where they will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how you will make important decisions about their upbringing. This includes things like education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Consider your children’s needs Your children’s needs should be at the forefront of your mind when preparing a parenting plan. You should think about their age, their school schedule, extracurricular activities, and any other factors that may impact their day-to-day lives. You should also consider any special needs or accommodations your children require and how you will work together to meet those needs. Be specific When preparing a parenting plan, it’s important to be as specific as possible. This means including details about where your children will spend holidays, how vacations will be arranged, and how you will communicate with each other about your children’s needs. It’s also important to outline how you will handle any changes to the parenting plan and what will happen if one parent needs to move or relocate. Keep it flexible While it’s important to be specific, it’s also important to keep your parenting plan flexible. As your children grow and their needs change, you may need to adjust your plan to accommodate those changes. It’s important to have a plan in place, but also to be open to making changes as needed. Work together Preparing a parenting plan is a collaborative process, and it’s important to work together with your co-parent to create a plan that works for everyone. This means being willing to compromise, communicate effectively, and be open to feedback and suggestions. If you’re having trouble working together, consider seeking the help of a mediator or family therapist. Preparing a parenting plan when divorcing or separating is an important step in ensuring the well-being of your children. By starting with the basics, considering your children’s needs, being specific, keeping it flexible, and working together, you can create a plan that works for everyone involved. Remember, the most important thing is to prioritize your children’s best interests and work towards a positive co-parenting relationship.   Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families. @KIDNEEDBOTH #KidsNeedBoth #Hope4Families