What does an effective New Jersey parenting plan look like?

When both parents live with their children as one family unit, it can be fairly easy to develop a consistent routine and lifestyle for everyone in the house. In instances involving legal separation or divorce, however, it is not unusual for parents and children alike to experience significant changes to their everyday lives. Fortunately, there are things that you as a parent can do to help ease the transition for your children from living in one household to two.

Parenting plans are utilized in cases where parents share custody of their children, and often play a major role in establishing consistency and reliable routines for families. According to the New Jersey Judiciary Administrative Office of the Courts, a parenting plan can serve as an important resource for you and other parents, as it can be used to outline everything from parenting time to parental responsibilities to child care considerations that are specific to your family. Above all, however, parenting plans for designed around the best interest of the child or children involved. Consequently, no two parenting plans are exactly the same.

When considering the factors that should be included in your family’s parenting plan, it is important to keep several considerations in mind. Given that the parenting plan is intended to account for both you and your child’s other parent’s rights and responsibilities, it should reflect collaboration and compromise on both your parts. The parenting time and visitation plan that you create should account for both of your work schedules, as well as your child’s school schedule. It can also be helpful to detail how unexpected events and changes should be addressed under the terms of the plan.

As you and your child’s other parent negotiate the terms of your parenting plan, it is also worth noting the age and the unique needs of your child. Older children are often more receptive to change, and generally have an easier than transitioning between households than younger children. Therefore, constant communication and collaboration may be required on the part of you and your ex-husband or wife when it comes to developing a new routine for your infant or preschooler.