Parenting Plans: A Blueprint For Child Custody
Parenting plans are plans both parents craft together that address custodial time, pick-up and drop-off details, holidays, vacations, international travel, address updates, rights regarding education, extracurricular activities and medical care.
I help you draft a parenting plan that makes sense for your needs and the needs of the child or children. Every parenting plan is unique because every family is unique. Parents are emotional during the divorce process and often cannot focus on the future. A parenting plan is the future, and this is where a trained, skilled, family law practitioner with 18-plus years’ experience can really make a difference.
A parenting plan may include details such as:
- A decision on whether a mother or father shall be the legal custodian or whether the parents shall be joint legal custodians
- Primary physical custodian
- Day-to-day decision-making authority regarding the children
- Emergency decisions with regard to the children
- Provisions requiring the parents to communicate in an effort to reach a mutual agreement with regard to major decisions
- Provisions designating a tie-breaker if a mutual decision cannot be reached
- Provisions regarding the parenting/visitation schedule
- Transportation arrangements
- Contact with the child
- Any provisions surrounding the supervision of visitation
- Exchange of employment information
- Exchange of respective addresses
- Rights of parents to attend extracurricular activities
- Rights of parents to communicate with physicians, teachers, school administrators and other professionals working with the children
- Provisions regarding who can be around the children or what environment the children can be exposed to
- Acknowledgments that a close and continuing parent/child relationship and continuity in the child’s life is in the best interest of the child
- Acknowledgment that the child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
A parenting plan should be specific yet flexible. If the parenting plan is too generic, it will not provide structure to the parents and child and could lead to miscommunication, distrust and, potentially, additional litigation. An experienced family law attorney can help you create a parenting plan that satisfies the needs of your family and is tailored to the specifics of your situation.
Sometimes it is hard for parents who are going through a divorce to see their spouse’s strengths as a parent versus their weaknesses or shortcomings as a husband or wife. Generally, parents who agree on a parenting plan rather than a court-imposed plan (after a hearing) are more likely to comply with the custody provisions. I guide you through the process of negotiating (with the other parent) a parenting plan that makes sense.
It is ultimately up to the court to review plans, and if the court finds that the best interests of the child are met by incorporating the plan, then it will be made part of the court order.
Contact The Firm To Discuss Your Legal Options
My firm, Candace M. Williams, P.C., is based in Gainesville and serves clients throughout northeast Georgia. To arrange your initial consultation with me, call my office at 470-705-5442 or send me an email.