Adjusting to a new co-parenting relationship takes time and effort. However, there are some steps you and your ex may want to take to make the transition easier for everyone involved. When you and your child’s other parent share custody, you may find that creating a parenting plan helps you establish guidelines with regard to decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.

What elements might you want to address in your parenting plan?

Transportation and custodial arrangements

Outline your agreed-upon custody arrangement in your parenting plan. Address matters such as who handles bringing your child to the other parent’s home, and when. You may also want to use the parenting plan to decide who has your child on holidays, birthdays, school vacations and the like.

General child-rearing guidelines

Most kids benefit from consistency, so you and your ex may want to make efforts to maintain a consistent environment and lifestyle in both homes. You may use your parenting plan to set guidelines for bedtimes, TV or electronic limitations, punishments and so on.

Communications between parent and child

If the relationship between you and your ex is acrimonious, you may want to decide how and when your child may contact you when at the other home, and vice-versa. For example, your child may agree to call the parent he or she is not staying with nightly at 8 p.m. Conversely, you may agree to communicate only via text message or email when your child is staying at his or her other parent’s home.