There are four components to most parenting plans: how decisions are made about the children, when each parent spends time with the children, how information gets exchanged and how other parenting concerns should be addressed. Other considerations include contact with dating partners and family, anticipated changes to the plan and child care arrangements.
A parenting plan is a written outline of how parents intend to raise children after a separation. It should reflect the needs and interests of the children and also serve to reduce conflict between the parents. Within the document, parents should detail how decisions regarding the children are made, particularly whether issues that do not impact life or death are up to both parents or if they are made individually. Important decisions include educational, medical, religious, cultural and dietary.
Living arrangements and parenting schedules are vital considerations when developing a parenting plan, and they should address geographical issues, communication with the children when a parent is away, vacations and holidays. Parents may choose to include other special occasions, such as Mother's Day, funerals, birthdays, school breaks and graduations. Situations pertaining to travel should also be addressed, including whether a consent form needs to accompany a child on any trips, who holds on to the children's passports and if notice is mandatory when a vacation is imminent.