Parental Plan Lawyers

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

What is a Parental Plan?

A Parental Plan, or parenting plan, is an agreement that outlines the duties and responsibilities of each parent in a divorce or separation setting.  The parental plan usually covers important issues related to child-rearing such as:

The parenting plan may also cover any other important issues related to parenting that the parties agree upon.  They are usually valid so long as they don’t violate any laws or endanger the child in any way.  Courts will usually approve parental plans based on the child’s best interest standard

Who Comes up With a Parental Plan?

In most cases, it is the parents who come up with a parental plan.  This may be done either in connection with formal court hearings, or outside of court as an independent contract.  In the latter case, the parents may present their parental plan to a judge to have it approved so that it’s enforceable under the family laws of that jurisdiction. 

In some cases, it is the judge who may come up with the parenting plan on behalf of the parents.  This may be necessary if the parents are unable to reach a mutual agreement on one or more important issues. 

Are Parental Plans Enforceable?

If they are approved by a judge, parental plans are usually enforceable under law.  Written parental plans created by the parents are usually enforceable like any other contract, so long as they are properly executed (signed, witnessed, etc.)

Informal, oral (non-written) may not be enforceable by a court, depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the parent’s relationship to one another.  Thus, it’s always better if a parental plan is formalized in writing and presented to the court for approval.

What if a Parental Plan is Violated?

Violations of a valid parental plan may lead to legal consequences, such as a fine or a contempt of court order.  In serious instances, a violation can even lead to criminal consequences if the child’s health or safety is put in danger.  For example, many jurisdictions treat abuses of child visitation or custody in a similar way to kidnapping, which is a very serious offense. 

In order to avoid violations, parental plans can usually be modified at a later time if the parents can prove that such modifications are necessary due to changed circumstances. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With a Parental Plan?

Parental plans are a very important aspect of most child custody and visitation arrangements.  Such plans need to be carefully drafted and reviewed to ensure that the child’s best interests are being served fully.  If you need assistance with any family law issues like child custody or visitation, you should contact a family law attorney immediately.  An experienced lawyer in your area will be able to provide you with valuable assistance throughout the legal process. 

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Last Modified: 07-21-2014 06:20 AM PDT

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