When you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse sit down to discuss the parenting plan for your children, you’re probably prepared with a list of issues that need to be discussed, including summer vacations, holidays and birthdays. However, it’s the little things that you may forget that can turn into a parenting nightmare for you both.

Here are some of the most important things that often get overlooked in parenting plans:

  1. A requirement to send the child’s belongings back with the child: This may not sound like a big deal — until you find yourself frantically trying to locate school clothes or your child’s favorite stuffed animal because those things weren’t returned.
  2. Appropriate notice when a parent is unable to keep a visitation period: If your ex knows that they need to go out of town next weekend, for example, you don’t want your child waiting around to be picked up.
  3. Immediate notice if there’s an interruption in the custody exchange: Things happen. Your child, for example, could come down with the flu. You deserve early warning that you won’t be able to take your usual custody turn.
  4. Rules for electronic communication: Both parents should be allowed liberal “e-visits” or the ability to reach the kids via electronic means when they’re in the other parent’s custody. There need to be some explicit rules regarding access to electronics and timing.
  5. Rules about church and spiritual practices: Sometimes people undergo a spiritual awakening after their divorce, and that can come with some huge ramifications for the children. There need to be some ground rules regarding what is and is not acceptable to impose on the kids.

Negotiating an effective parenting plan takes foresight and planning. An experienced advocate can help you craft a plan that will remain a success for years to come.