Couples who choose divorce may feel overwhelmed with the issues they must resolve. Before a Colorado judge signs off on your divorce, you must divide property and debt, decide child custody and develop a parenting plan. 

In Colorado Family Court, the parenting plan is the foundation of your post-decree cooperative effort to help your children come to understand a new normal. The document must include specific provisions. It is important to take some time familiarizing yourself with common elements found in parenting plans. 

A parenting plan is an agreement to cooperate 

A parenting plan memorializes your agreement with the other parent on how to care for your children. While your marriage did not work, your co-parenting should. The parenting plan gives you both the basis upon which to build a successful and ever-changing relationship to parent your children in separate households. Things that you may want as fundamentals include: Times that the children will go to bed, when you will deviate from the schedule and how you will handle conflicts. 

A parenting plan sets out the visitation schedule 

The most extensive section of the parenting plan is the parenting time schedule. This sets out the way you and your spouse intend to split physical custody of the children. The schedule should account for all days in a calendar year, either by the week or by block. 

The parenting time schedule should also include the times and locations you will exchange custody. For instance, if your children are all in elementary school, then the school or bus stop should suffice for this. You will also want to address where the children will reside during holidays and school breaks. In this section, you should address vacations and changes in parenting time. 

As children grow, so will the need to amicably agree to make changes to the parenting plan. Hopefully, this legal document becomes more of a guide than a necessity.