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A parenting plan is a key part of a child custody order

Divorce be a difficult transition for everyone involved. This is particularly true for children. A significant part of the case will be dedicated to addressing the child’s needs and serving their best interests. That includes child custody, child support and parenting time.

Regarding parenting time, there is a direct link with the custody determination. When the parents are in dispute over who will have custody, the court will want to make sure that the sides are willing to ensure the child has a relationship with the non-custodial parent. With that, the parents might be asked to submit a proposal as to the parenting plan protocol.

Even after the custody determination has been made, it is wise to keep certain factors in mind with the parenting plan. That includes scheduling, discussing matters regarding the child’s upbringing, and putting lingering differences aside of the good of the child. In these cases, it is important that the parents know their rights.

What should be in a proposed parenting plan?

Even if a parent does not have custody of a child, they will still share in the decision-making process. Both parents can have a say in the child’s life. That includes every area from education to healthcare to religion and extracurricular activities.

Parents will not necessarily agree on every issue, but they need to make sure they are working together for the child’s interests and future. If one parent wants the child to receive a specific type of education and the other wants a different type of education, this needs to be discussed and settled. Regarding health concerns, the parents have a right to know what the other parent is doing and what kind of care is provided.

There could be disputes over even the simplest issues such as transporting the child from one parent to the other. This should be added to the proposed parenting plan. When there are disputes as to when each parent will have the child, it is imperative that they know how to try and reach a consensus and resolve issues without negatively impacting the child.

There are a seemingly endless number of ways to schedule parenting time. Parents’ work schedules, the distance they live apart and the child’s needs all play a role. If the parents have a schedule where the custodial parent has the child during the week and the noncustodial parent has time with the child on weekends, this does not eliminate all obstacles. Holidays and extended time off from school could cause acrimony.

Long weekends, summer vacations, extended school holidays – all will give opportunities for the non-custodial parent to have extended time with the child. The custodial parent could have preferences and plans of their own making it complicated for the sides to come to an agreement.

Parenting plans are vital to the child’s development

Ideally, the parents will work together and focus on the child’s needs. Unfortunately, not every case is that simple. Whether it is a difficult case where the parents have trouble agreeing or they have a cordial relationship, knowing how to craft an effective parenting plan is crucial. No matter the situation, they should also understand family law and what can be done to facilitate an agreement they can accept while protecting and nurturing the child.