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Co-parenting plans and divorce

California parents who have divorced or are in the process of divorcing may want to consider being more flexible with regard to co-parenting plans. A plan that will address the constantly changing needs of children should be the goal.

A child custody arrangement is normally achieved through traditional means. It may involve attorneys and mediators, and often results in a rigidly scheduled parenting plan. For example, there may be set days for visitation. According to an author of a book on co-parenting after a divorce, the process of developing an effective co-parenting plan should be more fluid. The needs and priorities of children who are in the toddler stage are vastly different than those who are teenagers.

Parenting plans should be able to be easily adjusted to meet the needs of children. One example provided pertains to the needs of an infant whose divorced parents live in separate homes. The infant's need to nurse will require a significant attachment to one parent. An effective co-parenting plan would allow for progressively more time with the non-breastfeeding parent as the child eventually outgrows his or need for breast milk.

Provisions in a divorce agreement regarding parenting plans could be intentionally left slightly ambiguous as to be adaptable over time according to the needs and desires of the children. A fluid parenting plan can also benefit the parents, who may come to resent having to adhere to a rigidly set schedule. An attorney can often be of assistance to a client in negotiating such a document that is in the child's best interests.

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