Custody in Oregon: Making a co-parenting plan that works

If you have children and are going through a divorce or separation in Washington County, then you should probably start looking at creating a parenting plan. A parenting plan can serve a valuable part in defining roles for each parent, establish communication guidelines and ensure that the child's interest is the focus-not the needs of parents. Great thought should be used when putting together a parenting plan so that something will not come up later on which could create an unnecessary conflict between you and the other parent.

Working together

In order to make a parenting plan that will work you and your spouse the parents should both be committed to working together. According to HelpGuide.org, this means that you will need to put aside personal feelings and this is not an easy task. However, it is important to remember that because of your children, your ex-spouse will always have some form of presence in your life. Therefore, it would be healthier for you and for your children if you let go of any anger or resentment and look at the other parent as if they are a new business partner.

While direct communication should be the ultimate goal, this does not have to be the situation right away. Choose a communication form that is comfortable for you such as using a mediator, a mutual family member or friend that can remain neutral, or even electronic messaging where emotions and tones can be kept non-emotional. When you have learned to control the emotions and work together for the mutual benefit of your children, then slowly move to direct methods like a phone call or a face-to-face discussion.

Planning the plan

A good co-parenting plan has a number of elements, or components that are designed to reduce the risk of tension and miscommunication between you and the other parent. When you put together your plan, it should include the following:

  • A schedule with children's birthdays, school occasions, vacation time, holidays and family events.
  • How children will be picked up/dropped off by each parent.
  • Financial support of the children with school projects, extracurricular activities.
  • House rules for each parent.
  • Which parent makes which decision for the children such as education, religion, medical care and so forth.
  • What will happen if a parent relocates to another town or another state.

By taking the time to consider every possible situation, the needs of the child, or children, the ages of the children, and putting in provisions for how that plan will need to be changed as children grow older, you and your children's parent will be able to avoid emotional confrontations. For assistance in drawing up a parenting plan you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can share their knowledge with you and help you assemble a parenting plan that works for everyone.