We have previously discussed the benefits of co-parenting, and while co-parenting may not be right for everyone, it can make the transition from living with married parents to living with parents who are divorced much easier for your children. Here’s where a co-parenting plan can benefit your whole family.
Putting Together a Co-Parenting Plan in New Jersey
In order to co-parent your children after your divorce, you and your spouse will need to develop a comprehensive co-parenting plan as part of the divorce process. Here are 15 tips for preparing your co-parenting plan from our New Jersey divorce attorneys:
- Identify the Child’s “Home Base” – While co-parenting often involves children spending equal time with both parents, it can still be practical to designate a “home base” for your children’s activities and belongings.
- Have Scheduled Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs – The more detail you can include in your plan, the better. Addressing issues such as pick-ups and drop-offs can help you avoid unnecessary disagreements.
- Plan Ahead for Possible Extracurricular Activities – What will you do if your child wants to participate in an activity that only works with one parent’s schedule?
- Agree on Your Children’s Religious or Spiritual Upbringing – For children in co-parenting relationships, consistency is key. You will want to make sure you and your co-parent are in agreement regarding your child’s religious or spiritual upbringing.
- Agree on Health Care Insurance and Choose a Primary Care Physician – Preparing to meet your children’s health care needs should be a key topic of discussion. Start with addressing health insurance and designating a primary care physician.
- Decide Where & When to Seek Medical Care – Where will you and your co-parent go if your child needs emergency medical attention?
- Decide Where Your Child will Go to School – Is your children’s current school within a reasonable distance from where you and your co-parent will each live after your divorce? If not, what provisions do you need to make to address this?
- Set Guidelines for Internet Access and Social Media – You and your co-parent should enforce consistent rules regarding Internet access and use of social media.
- Start Saving for College – When it is time for your children to go to college, will you be financially prepared? What can you do to make sure you and your co-parent contribute in appropriate proportions?
- Make Provisions for Vacations and Travel – Making sure you and your co-parent have a plan for creating vacation travel arrangements is another way to avoid common post-divorce disputes.
- Make Provisions for the Holidays – The same holds true for planning for the holidays. Will you alternate holidays, alternate years, or follow a different plan?
- Make Provisions for Your Children’s Pets – If you have family pets, where will they live after your divorce? What if your children want to get pets after your divorce?
- Jointly Address Cell Phone Ownership and Use – You and your (soon to be former) spouse should agree on when your children will get their own cell phones, and when they will be allowed to use them.
- Decide on a Consistent Curfew – In addition to setting cell phone restrictions, co-parents should set a curfew that will be enforced at both parents’ houses as well.
- Decide what to Do about Alcohol and Drug Use – If you discover that your children are using alcohol or drugs, how will you and your co-parent respond? What punishment will you enforce, and what steps will you take to educate your children about the risks involved?
Schedule an Initial Divorce Consultation at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC
This list is not exhaustive, but rather is intended to illustrate the types of situations that can (and generally should) be addressed in a comprehensive co-parenting plan. If you would like more information about co-parenting after a divorce in New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us for an initial case evaluation. To speak with a divorce lawyer at our Hackensack family law offices in confidence, please call (201) 880-9770 or request an appointment online today.