What does your co-parenting plan look like? What does it include? Not all of the provisions of custody, child support, property settlement, but your “co-parenting plan.” Do you have figured out how to start your co-parenting journey, especially if it’s new?

I am sharing in this week’s column my sample “co-parenting agreement.” It is not a legal binding document, but what it is, is an agreement that can be used as a tool to get started on your co-parenting journey and to put a standard in place for how to begin, and/or how to get your co-parenting relationship back on track. It is a way for you to hold yourself accountable to a standard of co-parenting, keeping in mind “best interest” of your child(ren) and a guide to follow when making decisions that involve your child(ren) and how you should co-parent with each other.

1. We agree to co-parent respectfully and responsibly.

2. We agree to co-parent always keeping in mind what is in the best interest of our child(ren).

3. We agree to keep each other properly informed of important dates regarding our child(ren).

4. We agree to be on time when picking up and returning our child(ren) and agree to phone, or text each other if we are going to be delayed.

5. We agree to inform each other of any medical, dental, or other important issues regarding our child(ren)’s health welfare.

6. We agree to co-parent through the holidays, birthdays and other events in a manner that will be best for our child(ren) and so that these events continue to be happy ones.

7. We agree to not fight and or argue in front of our child(ren) and to be respectful of each other in the presence of our chid(ren).

8. We agree to co-parent similar in each house to lessen the confusion for our child(ren) and to continue a united front, even though apart.

9. We agree to allow each other to respectfully convey concerns and respect our differences when doing so.

10. We agree to each be involved whenever and however schedules allow in attending school functions and other events.

11. We agree to be mindful and respectful of time with each other’s extended family.

12. We agree to listen to each other, with respect of each other and our views, even if different.

13. We agree to not talk bad about each other to, or in front of our child(ren).

14. We agree to respect the relationship that each of us has with our child(ren).

15. We agree to do nothing that will cause embarrassment to our child(ren).

16. We agree that we will make important decisions together and put our differences aside to do so.

17. We agree to have our new partners/significant others respect and support this co-parenting agreement and/or any other parenting/co-parenting plan in place.

18. We agree to not do anything that would sabotage the other.

Copyright © 2016 The Co-Parenting Workshop.

This agreement does not include anything that is not easy to adhere to, and that is why it is such a great tool. Again, a standard to put in place to begin the journey to respectful and responsible co-parenting. It is in your child(ren)’s best interest for you and your ex to figure out how to be the best co-parents you can be. Your child(ren) deserve nothing less.

I hope you all have a great week.

Kari Clemmer, a DeKalb High School graduate, is author and instructor of The Co-Parenting Workshop and instructs co-parenting education in Dallas, Texas. You can listen to her podcast, “Co-Parenting Basics.” Send questions to Kari.clemmer@aol.com

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