Parents planning to divorce should take some time to make a parenting plan. As far as the family court is concerned, protecting minor children is a very important consideration. Read on for some tips on creating a complete and doable parenting plan.
What is a Parenting Plan?
Any issue that might affect the welfare of a child should be addressed with a parenting plan. It involves child custody arrangements, visitation, child healthcare issues, provisions for special needs children, and child support. The plan, except for child support arrangements, can be drafted by those who know the child the best, the parents. If the plan seems like a good one and if it's deemed to be fair to both parties and the child, the judge will probably approve it. With the judge's approval, the plan becomes a series of orders that should be followed until the child is of age or age 24 if the child attends secondary school.
Where the child primarily resides can be a sticking point in the divorce proceedings for some couples. There are two ways to look at custody. Legal custody usually goes to both parents equally, just as it was when the couple were together. Legal custody means that the parents make big decisions about the child together. This might include important issues like religion, discipline, education, healthcare, and more. Legal custody has nothing to do with where the child resides but is an overall way of viewing parenting.
Physical custody is the location the child resides most of the time but both parents can also share physical custody 50/50 (also known as shared custody). The couple may decide that the child should remain mostly in one home and spend time with the other parent using a visitation plan. The visitation plan should be as detailed as possible with back-up plans that account for emergencies, illness, work, school schedules, holidays, birthdays, and more.
The state usually decides on child support by considering the income of both parents. The parent that brings in the most income is usually the one assigned to pay child support to the other parent. Custody also plays a part with the physical custodian of the child usually being the one who is paid the child support. Related matters include which parent should pay for the child's health insurance and provisions for a special needs child.
When it comes to minor children, the court leaves all related orders open. The parents can alter a plan if they keep the best interest of the child in mind when doing so. Speak to a divorce lawyer to find out more.
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