Parenting Plan Requirements
Judges usually prefer when parties come to agreements on family matters. If parties cannot agree on legal decision-making or parenting time, each party submits a proposed parenting plan to the Court. A parenting plan may include many issues, but the statute shows which particular areas it must address.
A Parenting Plan Must Address:
- Whether legal decision-making will be joint or sole.
- Each party’s rights and responsibilities for the personal care of the child and for decisions in areas such as education, health care, and religious training.
- A practical schedule of parenting time for the child which takes into account holidays and school vacations.
- How to exchange the child, including locations and each party’s responsibility for transportation.
- A process for making and resolving any changes to the plan, including relocation, disputes, and any claims that one party has broken the agreement.
- Procedure for the parties to periodically review the plan’s terms.
- A method for the parties to communicate with each other about the child. This includes which methods are acceptable (e.g., phone call, text message, email) and how often parties should communicate.
- A statement that each party has read, understands, and will abide by requirements for notifying the other party when a sex offender may have access to the child.
How Do Judges Consider Parenting Plans?
Judges try to issue orders that allow both parents to share legal decision-making and that maximize each parent’s parenting time. Judges will review each party’s proposed parenting plan to determine whether it serves the child’s best interests. If the parties agree on any issues, a judge will usually adopt the agreement. However, there are some exceptions.
Sometimes the judge may not order shared legal decision-making or equal parenting time, even if both parents want it. The judge’s top priority is the best interests of the child. If the judge decides that this is not in the child’s best interests, they will not order it. This means that even if the parties agree to something, the judge has the final say in the best interests of the child.
Creating an agreement that reflects a judge’s view on the child’s best interests can sometimes be hard to do alone.
At Phelps & Moore, our attorneys can help you create a parenting plan. Call (602) 788-2089 to schedule a free 30-minute initial consultation today.
The information and views contained in this posting are not legal advice, nor do they form an attorney-client relationship.