What is a Parenting Plan and why do I need one? When you and your spouse cannot agree on a plan for legal decision making or parenting time a Parenting Plan is needed from both spouses to find agreements and where there are none for the court to use in its determination. A parenting plan typically includes:
- A designation of either joint or sole legal decision making;
- Each parents rights and responsibilities for decisions on personal care, health care, education and religion;
- A schedule for parenting time, including holidays;
- A procedure for exchanging the child;
- A procedure to address proposed changes to the plan;
- A procedure to review the plans; and
- A method by which to communicate from parent to parent regarding the child.
In approving parenting plans the court considers the best interests of the child. The court typically finds that participation of both parents in raising the child is in their best interest, this means courts will favor plans that include joint legal decision making, when it is reasonable.
A common practice in parenting plans is to set up parenting time so that there is minimal contact between parents and effect on the child’s day, one way this is normally practiced is to have the drop off and pick up times coincide with the start and end of the child’s school day.
Consulting with an attorney is advised, an attorney can help with finding a solution that works best for you and your family. Deciding how to divide up time with your family can be an emotional process, an attorney is your advocate who is not emotionally connected to the process and can aid you in making decisions that are in your best interest.