This is a list of suggested issues to have covered and resolved in writing when the Permanent Parenting Plan is drawn up. These should be considered as "starting points" for reasonable negotiation between the parents.
Custody: Joint legal and physical, if possible and reasonable. This means different things in different states, but any Non-Custodial Parent who pays Child Support and sees their kids should have it.
Parenting time: Same as above. As the Non-Custodial Parent, take as much time as you can get, preferrably fifty percent. SPELL IT ALL OUT.
Travel arrangements: Who does it, who pays for it. It should be split 50/50 if at all possible.
Telephone contact: How often, when, who pays for it, how to set up schedules. Here is some suggested wording for telephone access.
Changing residence: Ask for a minimum of 90 days advance notice of an intended move. However, some people may want to stipulate no moves, or no moves beyond a specific distance, or no moves outside a specific county.
Medical coverage: This should always be split 50/50. The child has TWO parents. One parent should not shoulder the cost.
Child's condition: Timely notification of any medical treatment(s).
Support and financial planning: How much support will be paid, how it will be paid, and when it will stop. College funds and life insurance should also be covered. Also very important is WHEN THE SUPPORT WILL STOP. One possiblity to avoid repeated trips back to court for this is to put in annual increases of some reasonable percentage, for example, 5 percent.
Tax deductions: These should be split 50/50, usually rotating yearly. The Custodial parent may want to tie the deduction's availability to having Child Support paid up and current.
Parental conduct: This includes such things as no spanking, no harrassing the other parent, how to celebrate holidays, not using the child as a messenger, preventing PAS, what each parent is allowed to do concerning things like braces, unnecessary surgery, private school, and other things that cost money, and finally, notification of photography sessions, etc.
Step-parents: What rights do the step-parents or significant others have. (i.e. transporting the child, medical care, etc)
Illness, accident, or death in immediate family: Additional parenting time in the event of a serious illness, accident or death in the immediate family shall be allowed so that the children may see the family member upon request or attend the funeral of the deceased family member. "Immediate Family" shall be defined as follows: (define 'immediate family' here).
Full custody: In the event of death, the surviving parent retains full custody. A standard provision that should be included unless there is a compelling reason not to.