The first thing to decide is the type of custody you will have, and there are two main types. Physical custody determines with whom the children live. You may decide that you want primary physical custody, which means that your children will live with you most of the time. However, you may share physical custody with your estranged spouse so that your children live with both of you an equal amount, which is called joint physical custody.
Legal custody grants the power to make important decisions regarding your children. Primary legal custody means that only one of you has decision-making power, while joint legal custody means that you share it. If you do not think you can agree on every decision, you could split the decisions between you. For example, one of you may have the power to decide educational and health needs while the other decides religious aspects.
Some other decisions that need to be made in a parenting plan include with whom the children spend certain holidays and vacation time and how you will handle problems that arise in the future, such as one of you moving to a different city or state. While making these decisions, you must keep your children’s best interests in mind.
While it may be more beneficial to amicably agree to a parenting plan, you may not be able to achieve this. If this happens, the court has the power to decide based on the best interests of your children. You can learn more about what the best interests of children means by reading our page on child custody and visitation.