8 Reasons You Should Avoid a Cookie Cutter Parenting Plan

8 Reasons You Should Avoid a Cookie Cutter Parenting PlanDivorced parents explore new territory when it comes to their children – from how they divide the child’s time to how parenting decisions are made moving forward. Instead of trying to fit your family’s needs into a cookie cutter parenting plan, however, it is best to create a plan that is specific to your specific situation, family dynamic, and future goals. A one-size-fits all approach works for very few issues in life, so why would you expect your parenting plan to follow a pre-defined formula?

Here are some of the important reasons why you should avoid a cookie cutter parenting plan:

  1. A “standard” parenting plan form does not take all the specifics of your situation into account, nor does it understand what your children need. Personalizing a plan means making a plan that will work better for your lives.
  2. The parenting plan form provided by the court likely will not address every single issue that may be important to you, as parents, such as education, healthcare, and cultural issues. The form mainly addresses living arrangements and how much time each parent spends with the children, but you are not limited to just what is on the form.
  3. For the benefit of your children, building a working co-parenting relationship based on agreement with your ex-spouse is one of the positive by-products of working on a detailed parenting plan.
  4. On the other hand, if one of the parents presents a risk to the children (such as substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence), your parenting plan should be crafted with the aid of your attorney to put the proper protections in place.
  5. It is important to consider any fears your children may have about new living arrangements and lifestyle changes. By working together to account for these feelings, a customized arrangement can help reduce the emotional impact your divorce may have on your children by working on solutions that will reduce their stress and worries.
  6. A plan that you customize will not only speak directly to the needs of your children, but to your own as well. You will be able to address what is important to you rather than following a pre-determined formula.
  7. Less conflict between parents not only reduces stress for all parties, including the children, but means both households will run more smoothly.
  8. Build a plan around your lives, and foster better relationships for everyone’s happiness. A plan that addresses issues like how to handle exchanges of the children, extra-curricular activities, non-emergency medical care, travel, discipline, and guidelines for the home environment, will give you the tools to provide stability for your children and avoid conflict for a more successful co-parenting relationship.
McKinley Irvin is a premier Portland family law firm and our attorneys are intimately familiar with child custody laws. We will work to ensure that your child’s best interests are met and protected. If you have questions regarding parenting plans or custody matters, we invite you to contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.

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