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What are some guidelines for creating a parenting plan?

Parenting plans are encouraged by Iowa courts as a way to work out child custody details. These plans outline visitations, parental rights and other custody issues. They are created by you and your child's other parent, often as part of the divorce process.

To create a solid parenting plan, Psychology Today recommends focusing on what is best for the children throughout the planning process. You should be flexible and understand all your wishes may not come true. You have to be reasonable and base decisions on what is the best solution for the children.

You and the other parent should get adequate time with the children. This includes fun time, along with routine time, such as driving children to extracurricular events, taking them to the doctor or helping with homework. A good balance is important to give children a chance to bond with each parent and to ensure the responsibility of taking care of the children is distributed as evenly as possible.

When it comes to the creation of the plan, you need to be as specific as possible. In the event a disagreement arises in the future, you will be able to refer to the plan for a resolution. For example, include exact pick up and drop off time, along with any exceptions allowable. Also, include information on how the plan can be amended. You may also want to consider creating two plans--one for the school year and one for the summer months--due to the differences in children's schedules during these periods. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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