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16 things to consider when making a parenting plan

When parents split up, it’s never easy. One of the greatest challenges is coming to an agreement about parental responsibilities and parenting time (often called custody and visitation).

Here are 16 questions to ask yourself as you work on creating a parenting plan:

  1. Can you communicate with the other parent and effectively make decisions with him or her, or should one parent have sole legal custody?

  2. Can you effectively coordinate with the other parent to provide physical care for your children, or should one parent have sole physical custody?

  3. If one parent will have primary custody, what times and days will the children spend time with the other parent during a normal week?

  4. Where will you transfer the children from one parent’s care to the other’s? Will it be at your house or at a public location of some kind?

  5. Who will be responsible for transporting the children to and from scheduled visitation times?

  6. If one parent is late picking up the children, how long should the other parent wait before making other plans?

  7. Do you have safety concerns (related to drug use, domestic violence or other issues) that warrant certain parenting time restrictions?

  8. Should either parent have the option to travel out-of-state or out of the country with the children?

  9. Should either parent be allowed to bring a new romantic interest or significant other along on trips with the children?

  10. Will the schedule change on holidays, summer breaks from school, birthdays and other important occasions? If so, what will those changes look like?

  11. If one parent is supposed to have the children on a certain holiday and the other parent is supposed to have them every other weekend, which schedule should prevail if those schedules conflict?

  12. How will you communicate with the other parent about upcoming events (school programs, sporting events, doctor appointments, etc.) that involve the children?

  13. When the children are with one parent, will they have the opportunity to call the other parent? If so, when and for how long?

  14. What types of discipline techniques can you and the other parent agree on?

  15. If one parent isn’t able to care for the children during his or her scheduled time, should the other parent get the option to care for them (before sending them to day care or to another relative’s house)?

  16. Which parent will claim the children as dependents on federal income tax returns?


These are just a few of the many questions you should ask when developing a parenting plan. If you want to learn more about how to protect your children’s best interests and your own parental rights in Alaska, consider consulting an attorney skilled in this area of family law. He or she can provide the detailed advice you need.

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