Why a parenting plan is important, what you should include, and the best ways to create your own parenting plan document.
What is parental custody?
Parental custody refers to your responsibility and right as a parent to care for your child.
This responsibility doesn't end when you get divorced.
Both of you will still have the duty to provide for your child's physical, emotional, financial, and other needs just as you did before you separated.
One of the most challenging situations caused by divorce is that parents no longer reside in the same location. This can make it difficult for both parents to actively provide for their child's necessities because they have to divide the child's time between them.
Before your divorce, you were able to pool your resources and provide for your child together. However, you should not have to stop acting as a parenting team just because you are no longer together.
Because of this, it is vital for you as divorcing parents to create a parenting plan that dictates how you will provide for and care for your child. This will provide your child with the structure and stability that he or she needs and will help you raise your child together even though you are apart.
A parenting plan is often called a custody agreement. It should contain all of the rules the parents will follow as their raise their child apart.
Once approved by the court, a parenting plan becomes a court order and both parents will be legally obligated to follow the terms and conditions of the plan.
A good parenting plan should contain:
- A child visitation schedule (also called a custody schedule or parenting time schedule) that dictates when the child will be with each parent. This should include a regular schedule as well as a holiday schedule and a vacation schedule.
- Stipulations regarding parental rights and responsibilities. These should be very specific and designate either or both parents as being responsible for making important decisions (medical, educational, religious, etc.) for the child. It should also include details about the sharing of information on matters regarding the child.
- A method of dispute resolution. A good plan will include a process that will keep parents from returning to court when and if they are not able to agree on something in the future. If you can agree on a process for settling disputes now, you can avoid future litigation which will save you time and money.
- Provisions for modifying the plan. As a child grows, the parenting plan should grow, as well. A system for making changes to the plan should be included to accommodate the needs of the child as they will change as the child gets older.
- Provisions pertaining to the care of the child. Transportation, communication, extra-curricular activities, and how to handle the child's belongings are just some of the issues that may be addressed.
- Any other stipulations the parents would like to include. Parents know the specific needs of their child and should be able to anticipate situations that may arise and may include rules for dealing with them. You may include anything you feel is relevant to raising the child in your parenting plan.
Including all of the information you need in your parenting plan may seem overwhelming. Where do I start? What should I include? What if I leave something out? How should I format my documents?
If you find you are asking yourself questions like those, you definitely need Custody X Change.
Custody X Change is a software tool to help you create a fair custody agreement.
Custody X Change can be a powerful tool in any custody situation.
Custody X Change can help you:
- Create the custody agreement / parenting plan that is best for the child
- Print off professional, impressive documents
- Negotiate with the other parent to reach an agreement
- Prepare documents for mediation
- Prepare for a court case
- Save money in legal feels
- Keep track of your child's schedule
- Know exactly how much time each parent has with the child
- Have peace of mind and feel secure because you don't have to worry about leaving anything out of the plan
Custody X Change can help you fulfill your parental custody responsibilities by helping you create a parenting plan or custody agreement that is the best for your child.
Once you are able to establish the rules for raising your child, you and your ex should be able spend more time focusing on your child.
If you can turn on your computer and click a mouse, you will be able to use Custody X Change with ease.
It only takes a moment to download the free edition. This allows you to "test drive" the software before you commit to purchasing it.
After that, you simply enter your information and the software does all of the work.
Making a custody schedule is easy. You can choose from any of the pre-programmed schedules, modify one to meet your needs, or create your own.
Once you create the repeating cycle for custody (which the software applies to as many years as you want to see in advance) you will be able to add in the holidays and vacation times.
You can designate any days you would like as special occasions.
You can even block out the time that your child is in school
After you create your schedule, you can add in your parenting provisions. You may choose from the list the software provides and you may include your own.
The documents you create will look professional even though they are easy to read and understand.
They print out as professional documents that outline your custody and visitation schedule in document and calendar form, an outline of your vacation and holiday time, the parenting provisions, and a time-share and overnight percentage report. This report shows you exactly how much time each parent has with the child. You can also export the documents to Word or PDF and make any changes that you want.
Custody X Change is so easy to use, but just in case you need it, there are video tutorials included in the software to show you exactly how to use the program.
The best way to get your parenting plan approved is to get the other parent to agree to it. When parents are able to agree on a custody plan the court will review the plan to ensure it meets the needs of the child and will typically approve it.
If you are having trouble reaching an agreement, you may want to use Custody X Change to help you negotiate your agreement.
Dealing with documents is a lot easier than dealing with your ex face to face.
You can simply use Custody X Change to create the parenting plan you want.
Then you can print out a copy for your ex to review and ask him or her to notate the things he or she would like changed and return them to you.
Once you get the documents back, you can review the suggested changes and make revisions to the plan. The parenting plan is very easy to edit when you use Custody X Change.
Then you can print out the revised parenting plan and continue this process until you reach a stand still.
Even if you are not able to agree on all aspects of your parenting plan, you can submit your proposed parenting plan to the court or a mediator. You let the court know what portions of the plan you were able to agree on and the court (or mediator) will decide on the rest of the portions of the parenting plan that are in dispute.
You should be prepared to tell the court (or mediator) why your proposed parenting plan will be in the best interest of your child and how it will help you fulfill your parental custody duties.
A well-organized, carefully thought out plan will be sure to make an impression on the judge and will increase the chance that your plan will be accepted by the court.