A Parenting Plan is often part of a Marital Separation Agreement, although sometimes it is an independent document that the divorcing parties execute. If you have minor children, almost all jurisdictions within the United States now require Parenting Plans as part of the documentation required for a divorce or separation.
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Parenting Plans are designed to set out the procedures and the schedules for managing the relationship between the divorcing parents and their children. Ideally a Parenting Plan will reduce conflicts between the divorcing parents and will result in a more stable environment for the children of divorced parents. It allows parents to avoid future conflicts arising from a lack of guidelines in dealing with responsibilities relating to the children.
Elements of an Effective Parenting Plans
An effective Parenting Plans will address these topics:
- Parenting Time (physical custody)
- Decision Making (legal custody)
- Transportation and Exchanges
- Annual Vacations and School Breaks
- A Process for Resolving Disputes and Conflicts
- Schools Attended and Access to Records
- Physical and Mental Health Care
- Contact Information, Relocation, and Foreign Travel
- Social Activities and School Functions
- Visitation Issues
- Communications and Mutual Decision-Making
- Contact with Relatives and Significant Others (such as Grandparent Visitation Rights)
Our Smart Parenting Plan enables you to generate a customized Parenting Plan that can be used to negotiate issues with your divorcing spouse, resulting in a final, agreed upon document that can be submitted to the court. The final document becomes part of your final divorce papers by incorporation into the Divorce Judgment or Decree. Normally your Parenting Plan will become an “Appendix” to your Marital Separation Agreement, as it is enforceable by the court if there is a breach of the Plan. A “breach” would be when one party has violated or is not complying with one of the requirements of the Plan.