In Washington, D.C. you can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.to see how it can help you.
You can also use Custody X Change to:
The District of Columbia has specific laws pertaining to child custody and visitation that should be adhered to and kept in mind when creating a parenting plan in Washington, D.C.
These laws can be found in the District of Columbia Official Code, Division VIII, General Laws, Title 46, Domestic Relations, and in Division II, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Title 16, Particular Actions, Proceedings and Matters, Chapter 9, Divorce, Annulment, Separation, Support, etc.
The law defines the different types of custody and some of the terms used by the court, outlines the factors the court considers when ruling on custody matters, and details the provisions which may be included in a parenting plan.
When you use the law as a guide as you create your parenting plan, it should provide you with insight and an advantage in your child custody case.
A parenting plan is a custody agreement made by the parents that delegates parental rights and responsibilities to each, either, or both of the parents, and will serve as the "rules" for raising the child.
In a custody proceeding in the District of Columbia, the courts may order you to submit a detailed parenting plan to the court (DC ST § 16-914.c).
As you determine how you and the other parent will share in the responsibilities and child rearing obligations, you should be aware of some of the custody arrangements that Washington DC acknowledges.
Understanding this terminology can help you know how to divide or share scheduling and other parental duties. To begin with, Section a-1 has some information about legal and physical custody and how they can be awarded:
Your parenting plan needs to designate how you and the other parent will assign or share legal and physical custody.
In Washington, D.C., there is a presumption that a joint custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
This means that if you want a sole custody agreement, you need to be prepared to show the court how a sole arrangement benefits the child.
The court also wants your agreement to provide frequent and continuing contact between each parent and the child and for the parents to share the responsibilities of child-rearing.
These are some points to consider as you decide between joint and sole custody and even how you want to divide joint or sole custody.
Your parenting plan may include, but is not limited to the following:
When making a custody determination, Washington, D.C. courts shall evaluate your proposed parenting plan to ensure it serves the best interest of your child (DC ST § 16-914.d).
The court may designate either or both of you as the person(s) responsible for making major decisions concerning the welfare of your child. The court may also require either or both of you to attend parenting classes.
If the court finds the mutually agreed upon parenting plan meets the requirements of the court and serves the best interest of the child, the court should make it an order. If not, the court is free to make an alternate custody order for your family (DC ST § 16-914.h).
Since the best interest of the child is the ultimate determining factor and the main concern of Washington, D.C. courts in child custody cases (DC ST § 16-914.3), the court shall consider all of the factors relevant to the child's best interest and welfare, including, but not limited to:
Your Washington, D.C. parenting plan should be written in accordance to the District's laws and in a manner that provides your child with frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
It should encourage a loving and affectionate relationship between your child and each parent, and allow for the sharing of parenting responsibilities (DC ST § 16-914.2).
When you are able to work together to create a carefully considered, comprehensive parenting plan, you will create a document that is approved by the court and will serve the best interests and needs of your child as he or she grows to adulthood.