Many Pennsylvania families are unpleasantly surprised when they discover their parenting plans do not cover every contingency. Some family counselors recognize a few elements that families often forget to consider when negotiating custody arrangements. Since the point of the parenting plan is to provide for the best interests of the children, family advocates recommend that parents agree regarding some common sources of contention.

A parenting plan is more than just a schedule of where the children will be on which days. Often, parents realized they have missed some important points in their plan. For example, a child may feel confused when the parents have different rules. Agreeing on which rules to enforce jointly and which to leave up to the individual household may reduce the chances of arguments over matters like bedtime, chores and screen time.

Other matters parents may want to include in their plans are how to handle extracurricular activities that conflict with custody time and whether to purchase separate belongings for the child or simply have the child transport items between homes. Parents may also want the right of first refusal for when one parent’s custody time conflicts with work or other appointments. First refusal means the parent with the scheduling problem must offer the other parent the opportunity to keep the children before calling a babysitter or relative.

A parenting plan can be more complex than just alternating days with the kids. Many Pennsylvania parents find it helpful to discuss the nuances and contingencies of a plan with someone who has experience helping parents through this delicate time. A skilled family law attorney may offer helpful suggestions and assist with creating a plan that works for all involved.