Parenting Plan Lawyers
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is often required in cases involving divorce, separation, custody, or annulment. Parenting plans are detailed schedules of the parenting time that will be allotted for each parent. Parenting times can be split equally, according to the agreement of the parents, or by order of a judge.
In addition to parenting time schedules, a parenting plan can also contain instructions regarding the duties and responsibilities of each parent. The terms of the parenting plan may be negotiated during mediations or may be ordered according to a judge’s decisions. The parenting plan is finalized into a parenting agreement, which is enforceable by law when approved by a judge.
What does a Parenting Plan Usually Include?
Each state may have different laws and requirements when it comes to parenting plans. This is because the child custody laws may vary with each individual jurisdiction. Generally speaking, a parenting plan will usually include the following matters:
- A residential schedule designating where the child or children will reside on given days and with which parent
- Distribution of parental responsibilities and child-rearing duties for each parent
- Parental rights regarding child support, child custody and visitation
- Identifying which parent will be responsible for important decisions, such as those regarding the child’s education, extra-curricular activities, health care, and religion
- Interactions with friends and relatives of each respective parent
When drafting parenting plans, the parents and court must make their decisions based on the “best interest of the child” standard. This means that parenting plan must reflect the child’s needs and requirements rather than those of the parent.
What are Some Common Disputes Involved with Parenting Plans?
While parenting plans can be very helpful, it can sometimes be difficult to reach an agreement regarding one or more of the terms. Difficulties can present themselves during negotiations, especially if the parents are not cooperative with one another.
Some of the more commonly disputed issues with parenting plans may include:
- Visitation schedules: It can be difficult to reach a final agreement regarding the visitation schedule. The parents must work with each others’ daily schedules to ensure an ideal visitation arrangement for the child
- Child support amounts: A parent who is claiming child support may have to provide evidence in support of the amount that they are requesting
- Violations of parenting agreements: Even if a parenting plan is approved by the judge, one of the parties may violate the terms of the agreement. Violations of parenting agreements and court orders can sometimes result in criminal penalties
An existing parenting plan may be modified at a later time if new conditions will affect the prior arrangements. For example, if one of the parents must work more hours at work, this may affect the visitation schedule. The new changes must be reflected in the modified parenting plan.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Parenting Plan?
Parenting plans require a careful balancing of many different factors and laws. It may be in your best interest to contact a family lawyer if you need help with a parenting plan. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what type of parenting plan will best suit your child’s needs are. A lawyer can help you prepare evidence in support of your claims, and they can also help you if the agreement needs to be modified.
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Last Modified: 09-16-2011 12:03 PM PDT
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