Community Built Knowledge Base => Library: Tools and skills workshops => Topic started by: JoannaK on March 09, 2009, 09:08:42 AM

Title: 8.41 | Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on March 09, 2009, 09:08:42 AM
Please feel free to list issues that have come up in your parenting situation that might have been avoided had they been specified in a parenting plan.

1.  All vacations and holidays, including days off from school.  Procedure for determining any changes (email, one-week notice, etc.)   Also children's and parent's birthdays.  (Our parenting plan specified that our son would be with each of his parents on our birthdays and we would switch years for his birthday.)

2.  The end of child support payments if the child turns 18, graduates from high school, or turns 21 (probably depends on your state, but you want to know how the child custody payments stop (automatic or if you have to go back to court) and exactly when.

3.  Grade school/high school choice of school and pay.  (If the other parent chooses to send the children to a private school, are you obligated to allow them to go?  Are you obligated to pay all or half?)

4.  Extra activities and/or school trips.  Who decides if the kids participate, who pays, is the other parent obliged to pay even if he/she is already paying child support and/or doesn't think the kid should participate?

5.  Children who are sick are not obliged to go to other parent's house for visitation or for scheduled exchange... .time to be made up later.

6.  Moving things back and forth:  Both parents need to provide the staples for their kids at their house at their own expense:  Bed, bedding, ares for doing schoolwork, basic school supplies, basic clothes, toiletries, towels, over-the-counter medicines such as bandaids and motrin, decent food, etc.  Other items, outerwear, "good" clothes and shoes, musical instruments, things needed for school, prescription medicines, should go back and forth and the it is the obligation of the parent whose home the kid is leaving to make sure that the kid gathers up what is needed.  If important stuff is left behind, the leaving parent needs to bring it to the other parent's home or to school or allow other parent to retrieve it ... .at the discretion of the other parent.  

7.  Exchange procedure:  No need for the parents to go into each other's home.  If kids are older, they can go back and forth between the car and the house, otherwise, other parent stays in the doorway.

8.  Problems with conflicting schedules and sports or school activities:  If transfer time takes place during an activity, how is transfer made?  If an activity will impact the other parent's time, how does this get resolved?  

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DreamGirl on March 09, 2009, 10:32:17 AM
Daycare Expenses.

DH was ordered to pay daycare expenses. (BM was originally ordered but then wouldn't pay, so in the final orders, it was agreed that DH pay with the child support calculation crediting him the amount)

Well BM figured that if there was no daycare expense at any given time, she should be reimbursed the monies. (Which is true to an extent because it is part of the calculation, but what she failed to take into consideration is that she, too, is responsible for a portion). Also to allocate the tax credit for the daycare for each child. BM claimed the expense even though the tax credit was taken into consideration in the child support calculation. (Basically, DH paid MORE child support to BM because the calculation considers the person paying the daycare expense is taking the credit because statute states that it's the right of the person paying) 

This caused more headaches and more arguments but was finally addressed the second round in court. (Where BM represented herself and stated that the child support calculation is just wrong) The modified decree states that DH still pays daycare, gets the tax deduction, and at no point needs to reimburse BM for the expense. Common sense to everyone BUT BM. To this day she still says its wrong.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on March 09, 2009, 02:07:12 PM
Thanks, Dreamgirl!

I would add that all tax credits and school credits should be resolved if possible.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: sonnyboy on March 09, 2009, 03:54:54 PM
Hi Joanna,

While reading this list, I realized that if ANY SINGULAR item on that list were handled according to any particular rule with any particular level of respect or consideration, my husband and his ex would not be divorced.  Maybe it's because they are on the extreme end of the spectrum, but there is absolutely no consideration given ever on any of the items listed, regardless of the  fact that rules have been established on some parts.

A kid is sick?  She'll use the kid and put him/her in the middle.  The rule is disregarded.  Come and fight it.

A cost for an extracurricular activity?  She puts the kid in the middle.  Campaigns on it.  A kid in tears.

Procedure for handling exchanges set up?  She walks all over it.  There she is, right at the curb, on "her lawn"

and the kids "aren't ready."

She picks what school they'll go to, then we'll be "informed" about it.  Never mind that it's 45 minutes away from where we live and from where the kids were born and lived.

And on and on and on.

Like I said, maybe our situation is off the chart.  All you can do is eat SH... T and smile, because fighting it only feeds her need to fight and have conflict.  The kids (9 and 12) are too young to understand, and explaining each and every situation winds up having the effect of abuse.  The truth compromises their relationship with their mom.

I find that Divorce Poison doesn't go far enough in many respects.  I would love to book an appointment with the author and ask him how we should handle the crazy making.   The bar gets higher and higher, and we go from one outrageous scenario to the next, all the while having to pretend that this is normal. 

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: spinning on March 10, 2009, 05:53:34 AM
Having a clearly defined schedule--for us, that included all dates and times--has removed much of UBPD's power to manipulate. It took ten-plus years and a PC (with whom we were not thrilled, but still) who ultimately created a calendar for every single day between now and end of HS.

We can now make plans to include SD15, something we could not do before. Family and friends can make plans to include SD now. What a feeling when we received a "save the date" magnet for a bat mitzvah and could look to see SD was able to go!

I believe our order also states DH is custodial parent when SD is with us, and therefore can make decisions like missing school and travel plans for SD during her scheduled time with us.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on April 13, 2009, 07:24:57 PM
A very clear set of rules / hierarchy to cover all possibilities for conflict over schedule.

I think mine is watertight from conflict... .

1) Holidays (listed and defined) override vacation

2) Vacation overrides parenting time (60 days notice, first come first serve)

3) Any discrepancy (like a Labor Day falling on a child's bday)  odd years go to father, even go to mother.

4) Different times when kids not in school due to breaks or undefined holidays (Presidents Day, Inservice Days, Veterans Day, etc).

No make up time.  I'd rather wait an extra day to see the boys than fight with her or have her 'claim' weekends.

I even went as far to say what is 'spring break'? Defined as shcool district's posted website. 

Leave nothing vague, nothing to be used as conflict.  I eliminated a  'special family events.'  Of course I will give up my parenting time or vacation for a funeral.  But what about the graduation party of the kids' third cousin?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on April 18, 2009, 05:37:26 AM
I just wrote this on another thread:

Now she seems to have "lost" the plan and is trying to make it up as she goes along.

If your plan is part of the court order, keep a copy with you at all times.  In fact, make several extra copies and be ready to show them or give them to school officials, the police, etc., as needed.  Keep one copy in your car, one at work, one right by your main home phone or in your briefcase/purse ... .Or give that extra copy to your ex if she seems to have lost her copy.  Be ready to say, "Ex, we talked about this situation when we developed our plan.  On page 3 it says, "bla bla"."  If her answer is "I don't have a copy in front of me" or "that's not my recollection", be ready to fax her a copy... .or set up a private blog and copy the thing into the blog and keyword the various major topics.  Then refer her to the blog.   

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on April 18, 2009, 05:41:06 AM
Special events:

If you think this is going to be a problem, either she will want excessive special family events (like that third cousin's wedding) or she will refuse your special requests, you may want to specify a number of yearly "special family event days" with 30 days notice unless it is an emergency situation like a funeral.  You may give up your parenting time for a funeral in her family, but can you assure that she will do the same?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on May 04, 2009, 09:22:50 PM
Thankfully, I was advised that you can get charged a lot by your attorney to write a parenting agreement from scratch... .best to go in with a boiler plate one and have adjusted for no conflict, your circumstances and attorney's/ T's suggestions... .

This is not a good one for a BPD, but a place to start to see what kind of things to put in... .and where to start...



Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on May 05, 2009, 07:31:48 AM
Our attorney gave me a "boiler plate" and then told me to change it according to the various things we had discussed and my exh had agreed to... .  Then I sent it back to her.  I wrote 90% of the customization and details of our parenting plan.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: oneflewover on May 25, 2009, 12:15:13 AM
Here are a few more to consider:

Relationships: When should you introduce new relationships to the child? What do you want to make sure potential relationships know about your agreement before they decide to become involved? What terms will be used when referring to stepparents?

Decisions: Who will make final decisions when all else fails or what steps will you take before bringing it back to the court (i.e. Mediation)?

Professional Appointments: Do you need to notice each other in advance of appointments? Who will make the decisions regarding professional services?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on September 28, 2009, 08:48:26 PM
Right of First Refusal (ROFR)

1)  Done in writing, 7 days in advance

2)  Anytime during evening, 6pm-6am, for more than x hours (4 hours is working for me)

3)  Once other parent agrees (in writing) that becomes their parenting time and they must act accordingly in terms of providing food, clothing, etc. (keeps them from backing out to ruin your plans).  You are NOT their babysitter to take instruction from them because it becomes YOUR time.

4)  NO make-up time will be allowed

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: JoannaK on September 30, 2009, 06:20:01 PM
What terms will be used when referring to stepparents?

This is a good thing to consider.  We've had people here who have had serious concerns (and confused children) when the ex has encouraged the children to call the new person in his/her life ":)ad" or (more infrequently) "Mom".  Putting it into writing and discussing it at a settlement conference may help to keep the ex from doing this.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on October 05, 2009, 11:04:24 AM

(this can stop a common PAS tactic)

Both parties shall insure that the minor children do not refer to any other

person as “MOTHER” or “FATHER” or any other names reflecting parentage.

Furthermore, both minor children shall at all times hereafter be referred to only by the

last name of “FATHER LAST NAME”.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on October 08, 2009, 11:43:18 AM

This has worked out great for my kids (preschool and school aged) with a 50/50 visitation... .and living in the same town.  dBPDmom is high functioning/career.

1)  every time start and end time is spelled out to the minute.  If it is based on an event, (ie  after school) then put in after school or 6pm, whichever is earlier.

2)  Every holiday time is spelled out to the minute... Not=Dad has them Christmas Eve.  Father has possession of children December 24 starting at 9am and ending at December 25 at 9am.

3)  Every transition is spelled out who has responsibility, where it is to take place  what it to happen when the other parent arrives (are the children to be dressed, ready to go?).

4)  Every holiday is listed out... Halloween, parents birthdays, kids bdays.  Contingencies if halloween is on weekday or weekend.  Spell them out to the minute.  The Friday after Thanksgiving?  New Yrs Eve, New Yrs Day? Do you want to tie Memorial Day to the entire weekend? Really sit down with a calendar and think about this, spend some time here.

5)  Holidays that you don't think about are spelled out.  So if MLK or Veterans Day come ups on a Monday following the parents weekend, it goes to the parent who had that weekend (you would be surprised how many Mondays kids are not in school!).  Spell these out to the minute, what time it starts ends.  Caution: if you want these Mondays you need to plan on taking the entire day off.  It is impossible to find a sitter on these days because all working parents are scrambling to find a sitter for Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Teacher In-service Day.

6)  This one was my L's suggestion... (applies also to #1) .who has responsibility for them during the day (if both work)... at first I really fought over this... .my L told me to let it go... the chances of me taking a day off to do something with them on a weekday in the summer are so unlikely (I have 2 weeks vacation to use with them and 2 additional holiday weeks).  So on the weekdays after my overnites, I have responsibility for the boys until 9:30am then she is responsible.  If the kid is sick at school after 9:30 or the sitter needs a day off, it is her responsibility... .You don't get your cake and eat it too.

7)  Contingency plan/hierarchy.  This has worked great.  Holiday trumps vacation.  Vacation trumps weekday.  If there is any conflict odd years mother.  even years father... .(what if your birthday falls on her Easter? or Yom Kippur)

8)  Winter Break... My L had a great suggestion here... .abandon regular parenting schedule.  Father Dec19-24.  Mom 25-30. (we alternate 12/31 & 1/1 by year) Provides continuity during the holidays and prevents a choppy schedule with 7 transitions.

9)  Spring Break... .Tie it to the published school district calendar.  Alternate it every year.  Make sure if you alternate Easter, it is alternated in the same year as Spring Break, so if Easter starts or ends the break,  you aren't rushing to get back from Spring Break for her Easter time.

10)  NO SPECIAL EVENTS to override parenting schedule... .Arbor Day, cousins graduation, change religions, forget it.  SPECIAL ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENTS FOR IMMEDIATE FAMILY ONLY THAT CAN NOT OVERRIDE HOLIDAYS.

11) NO VAGUE/AD HOC EVENTS.  My neighbor's stbxNPD switched religiouns and screwed up the holidays.  That clause about 'religious events with mother' came back to haunt him.

12) (this should be #1) NO MAKE UP TIME.  With a 50/50 schedule, this is NOT needed.  The schedule tends to work itself out.  Besides, if you are in a custody battle, are you really going to go into it saying you want to be able to make up time that you are going to miss with work or leisure?

11) A good ROFR Right of First Refusal (see workshop on parenting plans)

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on November 30, 2009, 03:09:06 PM
Some additional samples... .


and great website resource... .


Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on November 30, 2009, 03:22:45 PM

Here is one that came up last week, and I was so thankful to have…(stbx threatened a motion on some minor paperwork/permission deadline)... especially when I see other BPD’s on bpdfamily.com using the threat of filing court motions to escalate minor disagreements/interpretations into conflict….

In the event that FATHER and MOTHER cannot reach an accord on any significant decision, the

parties shall participate in mediation with MR NAMED MEDIATOR. Those costs of mediation

shall be divided equally between the parties. Except in cases of emergency, neither

party shall bring post decree proceedings before the court prior to completing two

mediation sessions.

•   My L and I tried really hard to get a mediator with a mental health (SW, Psych, MC) background that understood high conflict. I researched them, interviewed them, got recommendations and put together a list of 4.  Went over like a lead balloon. It didn’t happen and stbx insisted on another L.  I found one from Bill Eddy’s site and named that L as our mediator.

•   When my stbx threatened to take me to court last week, I simple referred her to this clause and said I would have it dismissed. No motion was filed.

•   Splitting the cost 50/50 is a speed bump to her filing motions on her own and using the court system to harass me

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on November 30, 2009, 04:31:09 PM

I have seen a lot of conflict on bpdfamily.com regarding telephone contact, including limiting where a NON can go on vacation... .

My clause seems to work OK... .it is specific enough that I get contact with the kids, but vague enough not to be tied near a phone for the rest of my life.  If we are going to be busy, I am proactive and have kids call her first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way.

Each parent shall have the right to daily telephone contact with the minor

children when they are not in their possession. Both parties agree that they will use

their best efforts to insure that the parent not then in possession will have telephone

contact with the minor children on a regular basis. Each parent shall keep the other

advised as to his or her place of residence, the telephone number of said residence, the

name, address and telephone number of his or her employer, and where he or she can

be reached when traveling. Each parent shall assist the minor children in connection

with any request to phone or otherwise communicate with the other parent.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on November 30, 2009, 04:47:53 PM

One more I am thankful for... residence.

My stbxdBPDw has a pattern of withholding the kids from me, and making it difficult for me to exercise my parenting time.  I predicted she would let me buy a new home near the kids, then pick up and move.  She fought this clause hard in mediation, and I stood my ground.(thankfully)... .I fully anticipate her moving as far from my new home as possible, but at least I know what the worst case scenario is.

Unless otherwise agreed to by the parents, MOTHER and FATHER shall

each maintain a residence within the following boundaries:

Then there is a list of 10 towns... .they were all picked due to proximity of our employers, our extended family, history of where we had lived for a combined 45 years, good school districts, and wide range of housing options.  We started at 20 towns that were upto 30 miles (1.5 hours in a metro area).

I believe you have to pick something concrete... .a boundary on a map: like city limits, interstates, or school districts.   That can be verified on the internet via tax records.   I also believe it should be no more than 30-40 minutes in rush hour traffic for parenting time transfers.

Be really careful you don't do something where judgment is applied (ie. "within 30 minutes"... .even radius can be unenforceable.

Be careful you don't pick something that sounds close (like a county), and in reality could be hour drive within homes.

Don't make it to limiting... .if BPD loses her job than she has no choice but to modify the agreement.  Or tells the court she needs more support to afford living in the area mandated by the court... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: ForeverDad on December 05, 2009, 12:51:56 PM
When my stbx threatened to take me to court last week, I simple referred her to this {mediation} clause and said I would have it dismissed. No motion was filed.

I too have a clause that we must go to a mediator to attempt resolution before heading to court.  Well, my ex filed a motion for Contempt of Court against me several months ago.  When my lawyer raised that point at the first appearance, the magistrate stated that mediation was ONLY to deal with the terms of the parenting agreement, not Contempt of Court matters.  Now why didn't my lawyer know that?  I thought that was our #1 and most powerful point.  Er, surprise.  So, my advice, be sure to know what qualifies for mediation and what doesn't.  By the way, after two appearances in court her motion was dismissed for lack of credible evidence.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: ForeverDad on December 05, 2009, 12:58:23 PM
Do you have or anticipate continuing conflict and disagreement?  (Yeah, I know, silly question... . )

There are at least two web sites providing software for parenting communication and documentation. Each has a different focus, different payment structure, so one or both may be helpful:

www.CustodyXChange.com/ (see LINKS tabs for additional articles)


According to this review, CustodyXChange is good for developing a plan, handling changes and revising it whereas OurFamilyWizard focuses more on documenting and sharing ongoing email communications with the appropriate officials, lawyers and court.

www.custodyxchange.com/reviews/our-family-wizard.php (OFW vs CXC comparison)

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on December 11, 2009, 01:27:08 PM
Christmas and Winter break Ideas and Discussion



Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: scraps66 on December 27, 2009, 04:09:29 PM
Dunno if this is the right spot, but can anyone reference some good parenting agreement language for a spouse that periodically has to travel for work?  My wife's fat A$% windbag attorney has already waved the red "he travels for work" flag in our first custody conference as if it is a stumbling block.  She will hopefully be shocked when she finds out that STBx has been "out of the hosue" more evenigns than I that last two months - and she ain't chasing a career, but rather "watching the submarine races!"


Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on January 05, 2010, 09:19:45 PM
My wife travels with work (or has dinners), about 2-3 nights per month.  I knew she would have babysitters take the kids while she traveled rather than let them stay with me... .

So in the Parenting Plan... .to accommodate both of our schedules... .

A)  ROFR - no more than 4 hours between 6pm-6am with a babysitter... .Otherwise the other parent gets the chance to take them.

B)  Set the parenting schedule for the same nights.  With a 5-2-2-5 schedule, you can arrange so you can travel Mon-Wed. type of thing.  My boss knows that I am available on Monday and Thursday nights, and appreciates the consistency.

At 10% unemployment and a recession, working at a good job that requires a couple of night a month out is not looked at as a stumbling block to being a custodial or joint parent.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
Post by: DavidWebb on February 14, 2010, 12:46:24 PM
Great brochure on parenting plan basics, ideas, and varying plans for different ages... .

I found a lot of the opinions in this pamphlet we reiterated by the SW, L, Mediators, T's, and GALs' involved with our parenting plan.