Drafting Effective Parenting Plans

When a marriage ends, parties have a strong desire to go their separate ways. Unfortunately, when children are involved, parties are forced to work together to co-parent. In order to make co-parenting easier, the South Carolina legislature requires each party to submit a proposed parenting plan to map out the basic parenting rules each party will follow. The court will take into consideration both parties’ parenting plans to determine what is in the best interests of the child for the final divorce decree.

Determining what topics need to be addressed in advance can be difficult. The attorneys at Ayers Family Law, LLC are skilled at anticipating future issues that can arise and are able to draft parenting plans to eradicate those issues.

Topics to Consider when Drafting a Parenting Plan

When crafting a parenting plan, it is important to consider the following topics.


You need to consider if both parties will share custody of the child or if you feel that one party should have sole custody.

Big Decision Making

With a child comes many big decisions. When parties separate, it can be hard to agree on anything. A parenting plan gives parties the opportunity to plan for big decisions such as schooling, religion, medical care, and education. In addition, a parenting plan will also identify how the parties will settle any disagreements regarding these decisions.

School Schedule

The parenting plan allows parties to decide where the child will stay and who will transfer the child to and from school during the school year. Parties need to consider where the child attends school and who has the ability to transfer the child at the appropriate times.

Holiday Schedule

It is very difficult to give up time with a child, especially during the holidays. The parenting plan lists all holidays that are important to the parties and splits the time between the two parties. The parties can alternate years for a holiday, split each holiday between the two homes each year, or even give certain holidays to each party every year. It is important for the parties to remember not to take away from the joy of holiday time for the child.

Type of Contact with Other Parent

When one party is away from the child, he or she probably still wants to have contact. Especially in contentious divorce situations, it is important to decipher how the non-visiting party can communicate with the child. The parenting plan can allow phone, email, or even social media contact while the party is not with the child.


A party may feel strongly about restrictions for the child. For example, a party can ask for restriction of internet use, limited exposure to certain individuals, or no drinking or alcohol use.

Any Other Concerns

Parenting plans are for the parties to create a less hostile environment for the child. Therefore, it is vital for the parties to address any and all concerns they anticipate may arise while parenting from two separate households.

Contact the knowledgeable Charleston attorneys at Ayers Family Law, LLC to assist in drafting the most complete parenting plan for your situation. A well drafted parenting plan can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful co-parenting.