Gainesville Visitation Attorney
Experienced Parenting Plan Lawyer in Georgia
Over the last several years, there have been dramatic changes in the law with regard to children and child support issues. There has been a push to standardize many of the forms utilized in domestic relation matters. Good family law lawyers have included detailed provisions in Settlement Agreements regarding visitation, decision making, support, access to records, and provisions for insurance within the body of the Settlement Agreement which was ultimately incorporated into the Final Judgment and Decree.
The law in this area underwent another change in January of 2008 requiring the Court to make specific findings in child custody matters and requiring the Court to adopt Parenting Plans. Some lawyers draft Settlement Agreement which contain the necessary “Parenting Plan” language. Many lawyers have started to draft separate Parenting Plans which address the issues surrounding the children which is incorporated into the Settlement Agreement as an exhibit. Regardless of whether the Parenting Plan is separate or contained within the Settlement Agreement, there are basic principles which should be included in both.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan outlines the custodial rights of the parties and generally includes:
- A decision on whether a mother or father shall be the legal custodian or whether the parent shall be joint legal custodians
- Primary physical custodian
- Day-to-day decision making for the children
- Emergency decisions with regard to the children
- Provisions requiring the parents to communicate in an effort to reach a mutual agreement with regards to major decisions
- Provisions designating a tie breaker if a mutual decision cannot be reached
- Provisions regarding the parenting/visitation schedule
- Transportation arrangements
- Contact with the child
- Any provisions surrounding the supervision of visitation
- Exchange of employment information
- Exchange of respective addresses
- Rights of parents to attend extra curricular activities
- Rights of parents to communicate with physicians, teachers, school administrators, other professionals working with the children
- Provisions regarding who can be around the children or what environment the children can be exposed to
- Acknowledgments that a close and continuing parent/child relationship and continuity in the child’s life is in the best interest of the child
- Acknowledgment that the child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures
An experienced family law attorney can help you create a Parenting Plan which satisfies the needs of your family and is tailored to the specifics of your situation. A Parenting Plan should be specific yet flexible. If the Parenting Plan is too generic, it will not provide structure to the parents and child and could lead to miscommunication, distrust and potentially additional litigation.
Negotiating a Parenting Plan is Often the Best Solution
It is hard for parents who are going through a divorce to look at the strengths of their spouse as a parent versus their weakness or shortcomings as a husband or wife. Generally, parents who agree on a Parenting Plan rather than a Court imposed Plan (after a hearing) are more likely to comply with the custody provisions.
It is ultimately up to the Court to review Plans and if the Court finds the best interest of the child are met by incorporating the Plan to then make it a part of the Court Order.
Contact a Visitation Attorney at Coleman, Chambers, Rogers & Williams, LLP
Creating a Plan that addresses the children’s present and future needs and which addresses each parent’s strength and weaknesses should not be taken lightly. Make Coleman, Chambers, Rogers & Williams, LLP and our team of innovative attorneys and paralegals a part of your team by calling 678-928-5757 or by sending us an e-mail.