People who are coming into a co-parenting situation might not know exactly what it will entail. While there are many things that can help you to do this, one of the most important is for you to set goals. These goals should cover all aspects of parenting so that you can focus on them no matter what is going on at the time.

While you might need to change these areas up a bit to meet your needs, this list is a good place to start. Some of these areas will require the help of your ex, but others are strictly based on your personal desires.

Estate and financial planning: Ensure that you have a plan for your children if something happens to you. This includes establishing an estate plan, as well as trusts that can help to support them if you aren’t here any longer. Additionally, plan for how you will handle money matters now. This includes discussing how child-related expenses, such as school clothes costs, will be handled.

Communication with your ex: You need to set a plan for dealing with your ex. This might not be easy, especially if your ex is passive-aggressive or narcissistic. Be prepared for fits and manipulation. Decide where you will draw the line with how communication is going and stick to those limits. It might be beneficial to communicate through a recorded method so you can go back and review what was said and agreed to.

Decision-making powers: You and your ex should have a plan for how decisions about your children will be made. Normal decisions like where the child will go to school or when they will have their “well child checkup” may fall on one parent. But, you can’t stop at the usual decisions. You need to figure out how emergency situations will be handled.

Interactions with children: The way you interact with the children have a big impact on them. You need to focus on creating a calm environment where they can feel safe. Trying to create new traditions and deciding what is truly important when you are with them can help you to find the balance that you need.

Some of the goals that you have are dependent on the terms of the child custody order. The parenting plan in Michigan will include a schedule for when you will have the children with you. Review this order so that you can be sure you aren’t doing anything that goes against the order.