Divorce is not something anybody dreams of going through when they originally get married. But, if you find yourself in this position, you are not alone.
In 2019, there were 746,971 divorces. With those divorces, a lot of them involved couples with children under the age of 18.
Since these kids are not old enough to have a legal say in the matter, parents need to then arrange parental responsibilities in a divorce.
This is where a parenting plan comes in. But, what is a parenting plan in a divorce?
Here is your guide.
What Is a Parenting Plan In a Divorce?
This is basically the document that will decide which parent is getting primary custody of a child. It applies to children under 18, and it will state which parent the child will have primary residence in, what school they will go to, what that parent is mainly responsible for providing, etc.
As for the other parent, the document will also detail exactly what visitation rights they have. If you decide to have weekend visitation, or a few days a week, it will be in there.
It can also note which parent kids spend holidays and birthdays with, and if or how much child support that you might have to pay.
Who Decides What Goes In It?
The answer to this depends on how civil the divorced couple is with each other. If both parties are willing to cooperate, then the entire document can be made by the parents discussing specific terms with their lawyers and/or a mediator.
However, if the divorced couple cannot agree on the terms in the document, then it will have to be filled out by a judge after hearing both sides out in a courtroom. This can get ugly, with some slights exposed by the other partner potentially costing you child custody.
What Is the Process?
In total, you will have 18 months to make a final decision on this from the initial date of service. During the first 90 days, a case management meeting will be scheduled by the court.
Parents also each have 120 days to file a plan from the day they ask the courts for parental responsibilities of their child.
In this document, you will have to include terms on things such as who is the primary parent, how much visitation time does the other parent gets, what the child’s primary residential address is going to be, transportation, notice for change of residence, etc.
The primary basis for a final decision (especially if the courts are deciding this) is what the best interests of the child are. The parents will have to have a meeting with a mediator to see if terms can be agreed upon there with each other. If not, it gets carried on to court.
In extreme cases, there may even be a separate attorney to represent the child. But, whether you settle it with a mediator or drag it to court, a judge has to approve the document for it to be official.
Hire a Divorce Lawyer
When it comes to divorce, you not only need to make sure you are protected, but your child is as well. Hiring a divorce lawyer will not only give you the legal counsel you need for this parenting plan but also put your child in a better position to have the best life they can after your divorce.
Are you still not 100% sure what is a parenting plan in a divorce? Contact us to get the answers you need from a family law attorney.