The Parenting Plan includes the conservatorship rights of the parents, the visitation schedule, the child support, and also provides for other issues that may affect the child in order to minimize the risk of future disagreements.
As long as you don’t have a high-conflict custody battle, we can either use standard parenting plans or craft our own with agreement between the parties.
The parenting plan reflects decision-making on major issues, not day-to-day decisions, which may be made by the current residential parent without the need to consult the other parent, unless you make such decisions a part of your plan.
Day-to-day decisions include, but are not limited to, minor training or correction, minor medical and dental care, curfew, chores, allowance, day-to-day decisions about clothing or hygiene during the time the child is with you.
The division of decision-making allows you to make several choices. You may decide that one parent should make all of the major decisions alone, or you may decide that you and the other parent will make all major decisions together. The third option is to decide the major areas of decision-making and to decide which parent will have the responsibility for which decision such as:
- major educational decisions
- major medical/dental decisions
- major religious decisions
- decisions regarding extracurricular and recreational activities
- post-secondary education, automobile access or insurance, or any other agreements affecting the general welfare of the child(ren)
The parenting plan will determine whether the father or the mother will be paying child support. A ‘Wage Withholding Order’ shall be issued in every case.
It will also specify who is to claim child tax deductions, maintain health insurance, pay for uncovered medical/orthodontic expenses, and possibly life insurance.
The child-visitation times only kick-in when the parents cannot agree. So theoretically, the parents can agree to anything. When there is a disagreement, the established parenting time will take effect.
The parenting time categories are weekday/weekend schedule, and a summer schedule. It will also cover details on how the exchange of the children is to occur.
Other situations covered are the children’s travel, airplane travel, holidays, vacations, special occasions, and religious events.
Unless stated otherwise, both parents are entitled to the following rights:
- To unimpeded telephone conversations with the child at least once each week at reasonable times and for a reasonable duration;
- To send mail to the child which the other parent shall not open and will not censor;
- To receive notice and relevant information as soon as practical (but within 24 hours) in the event of hospitalization, major illness, or death of the child;
- To receive directly from the school, upon written request, which includes a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplicating, copies of the child’s report cards, attendance records, names of teachers, class schedules, standardized test scores, and any other records customarily made available to parents;
- Unless otherwise provided by law, the right to receive copies of the child’s medical, health or other treatment records directly from the physician or health care provider who provided such treatment or health care upon written request which contains a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplication.
- To be free of derogatory remarks made about such parent or such parent’s family by the other parent to or in the presence of the child;
- To be given at least 48 hours notice, whenever possible, of all extra curricular activities, and the opportunity to participate or observe, including, but not limited to the following:
- School activities
- Athletic activities
- Church activities, and
- Other activities to which parental participation would be appropriate.
- To receive from the other parent, in the event the other parent leaves the state with the minor child(ren) for more than two days, an itinerary including telephone numbers for use in the event of an emergency.
- Access and participation in education, including the right of access to the minor child or children for lunch and other activities, on the same basis that is provided to all parents, provided the participation or access is reasonable and does not interfere with day-to-day operations or with the child’s educational performance.
Often, there are domicile restrictions specifically to encourage frequent contact between the non-custodial parent and the children. These restrictions can established to prohibit the children moving outside of the county or, outside of a certain geographically area.
If one of the parents wish to change these restrictions, either both have to agree in writing or an attorney can assist in having the court make the determination based on the circumstances.
The Parenting Plan contains a lot of high-impact guidelines. It is very important to discuss, in advance, the consequences of different approaches. Attorney Vince Handler will craft a Parenting Plan that focuses on your priorities. Contact us today.