When parents are trying to determine custody and visitation for a child, a parenting plan can help them avoid conflict by putting their agreement in writing. A parenting plan, also known as a custody and visitation agreement, also helps the child involved know what to expect.
Once both parents sign the parenting plan it becomes a court order, is signed by the judge and is filed with the court. As the child grows older, the plan may need to be amended so it meets the child’s needs.
Parenting plan contents
The parenting plan addresses a schedule for when the child will be with each parent.
It addresses physical custody, meaning where the child will live, and how he or she will spend time on a day-to-day basis and during activities, holidays and vacations.
It also addresses legal custody which states who can make important decisions about the child’s health, education, religion and other topics.
The plan should allow both parents to communicate with the child and have access to important information about the child. The parents should also share contact information and the plan can detail how to address custody in emergency situations.
Parenting plans are most successful when the parents are respectful to each other, even if they disagree about decisions that affect the child. It’s important to create a parenting plan that takes the best interests of the child into consideration.
The process of determining child custody and visitation can seem overwhelming. However, an experienced attorney can answer questions about divorce, child support and custody and help parents understand how to structure an effective parenting plan.