Custody issues take center stage when a divorce involves children. For example, in Pennsylvania, parents must create a parenting plan showing the court how they will share custody.
Creating a parenting plan that will satisfy the court requires careful consideration of what is best for the children.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan outlines how both parents will contribute to raising their children. In addition, it addresses physical custody, legal custody and specific issues regarding the children.
What details should a parenting plan include?
A parenting plan must include details about how both parents will contribute to their children’s lives. For example, suppose one parent has primary custody, and the other pays child support. In that case, the parenting plan must indicate each parent’s financial responsibilities for expenses that child support does not cover. The plan should also address children’s religion, education, transportation needs, vacation and holiday plans and access to others. Finally, the plan should discuss how and when parents will communicate.
How does a parenting plan become official?
After parents jointly submit their plan to the court, a judge will review it to ensure it reflects the children’s best interests. Although a judge may make some adjustments, plans parents create together indicate that they are also considering what is best for their children. However, when parents submit separate parenting plans, the judge may reject one or both before unilaterally deciding its terms.
Is it possible to adjust a parenting plan?
Parents who need to modify a parenting plan can seek the approval of the children’s other parent. Otherwise, parents can petition the court for changes, showing they reflect the children s best interests.
Parents who work together to create a parenting plan are more likely to focus on their children’s best interests.