What is a Parenting Plan, and What Should You Include in it

Filing for divorce involves many issues that need to be resolved, and child custody is one of the biggest. Courts have gradually shifted away from traditional language like “custody” and “visitation” and have replaced them with more family-friendly terminology like “parenting plans.” When you divorce your spouse, you must create a parenting plan. Parents can often agree on a parenting plan. Other times, they need the court’s help to develop a parenting plan. If you are thinking about divorce, talk to a Columbus divorce attorney to learn more.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan (or parenting arrangement) is a written document created by you and your ex-spouse to explain how you will care for your children following your divorce. Creating an agreement allows both parents to understand what the other expects of them and can assist in reducing the conflict that often occurs when parents separate.

A divorce can have a lot of negative impacts on the child’s emotions and lifestyle. The parents must try and keep as much stability as possible, and parenting plans are a great way to help with that.

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Parenting plans are also known as co-parenting agreements, custody agreements, or parenting time arrangements. Whatever it may be called, you should try creating one even if your state does not mandate it.

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What should your parenting plan include?

Each state has its standards for a parenting plan, and no two families are alike. Thus no two parenting plans are alike. An attorney would be able to properly guide you on how you should create your parenting plan, but some things you should include are:

  • Child custody 
  • Child support and other financial issues 
  • Visitation for the noncustodial parent and the child 
  • Holidays 
  • Pick-up and drop-off transportation 
  • Religious upbringing 
  • Medical care 
  • Education requirements

How can an attorney help you?

You and your spouse can work out a parenting plan, and once it’s in writing, you can submit it to the court. Suppose you are unable to address all of the difficulties on your own. In that case, you can participate in mediation, in which a neutral third party will help you resolve your conflicts in a confidential setting. If you are unsure about mediation and cannot reach an agreement, it is best for both of you to hire an attorney. While it is true that you do not necessarily need an attorney to create a parenting plan, it is still advisable to seek a legal professional.

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