How to Create a Parenting Plan
Consent orders, parenting agreements, and child custody agreements are the three forms of parenting plans that are used in North Carolina. Each parent’s responsibility for a child’s custody is outlined in these plans. This blog post will outline the procedures for carrying out the aforementioned parenting plans.
When two parents decide to raise their child apart from each other, rather than in the same home, a parenting plan is required. Parenting plans are frequently drafted during the divorce process. If the parents are unable to agree, they can create a plan outside of court or ask the court to decide on their custody.
The best way for parents to make sure their custody arrangement works for their family and is in their children’s best interests is to collaborate when creating a parenting plan. This is due to the fact that parents are better qualified than judges to determine how best to allocate their time so that a child can grow up with strong family ties and regular routines.
Types of Parenting Plan
Though each of North Carolina’s three parenting plan types is used differently, they all essentially contain the same information.
1. Parenting Agreement
When parents reach a settlement through private or court-mandated mediation, parenting agreements specify the conditions of custody. Once a judge signs them, they become court orders. The agreement will be drafted by the mediator. Before the mediator submits it to the court, you should review it with the other parent and your attorneys, if applicable.
Child support is not covered by parent-child agreements. You need to submit a separate application to North Carolina Child Support Services for child support.
2. Orders of Consent
Plans with consent orders are the most prevalent kind. When parents resolve a dispute without the use of a mediator, they present the court with a proposed consent order, which is then signed by the judge to become a court order. When they are unable to agree, parents may also individually submit proposed consent orders.
Your lawyer will assist you in drafting the document if you have one. If not, you can draft your own consent order; however, it is advisable to have legal counsel review it.
3. Child Custody Agreement
Contracts between parents that aren’t submitted to the court are known as custody agreements. Lawyers caution that because they aren’t court orders, they may be challenging to change or implement. If you ever need to sue the other parent, be sure to include information about how the court should handle breaches of the agreement. Eventually, some parents formalize their agreement into a consent order and file it with the court.
Parents can draft an agreement themselves, or attorneys can do it for them. You need to have it notarized in either case.
Contracts for divorcing or separating parents, known as separation agreements, frequently include custody agreements. The custody agreement is all that is required if you and the other parent are not married.
What a Parenting Plan Include
All of the legal concerns related to sharing custody of a child should be covered in a parenting plan. This may consist of:
1. The organization of legal custody
The authority to make important choices regarding a child, like where they will go to school and receive medical attention, is known as legal custody.
2. The division of physical custody
This is a child’s schedule that shows where they will be at all times. Not only should you outline a child’s routine time management, but you should also address special occasions like birthdays and holidays.
3. Travel plans
How a child will be moved from one parent’s home to another should be outlined in your plan.
4. Communication guidelines
You should discuss how and when the child can speak with the other parent when at one parent’s house, as well as how the co-parents will communicate with one another.
5. Communication with other relatives and friends
A parenting plan should address whether there are certain people that kids shouldn’t be around.
6. Requests for changes
A mechanism for parents to request schedule adjustments and restrictions on when this can happen should be included in the plan.
7. Alterations and revisions
It is inevitable that custody arrangements will need to change. Your parenting plan should include specifics on how this will happen.
Other difficulties that are unique to your family might also be covered by your plan. The secret is to prepare for every possible question that might come up while you are co-parenting.
A Step-By-Step Guide on Parenting Plan
1. Speak with an attorney to see whether you need more assistance
A family law attorney should represent both parents so they can work out a compromise that keeps their rights intact. Parents who worry that they won’t be able to reach a consensus might also want to look for a mediator who can guide them through the process of drafting a parenting plan by promoting honest and successful dialogue and bargaining.
2. Think About What’s Best for Your Child
A parenting plan is meant to ensure that your child receives the best care possible. Consider your child’s daily routines, their interactions with each parent, and how well each parent is able to give them the time, care, and attention needed for the child to flourish.
3. Determine the Distribution of Legal Custody
The next thing you need to talk about is sharing decision-making or legal custody. This is the authority to make important choices.
4. Describe a Parenting Timetable for Typical Visits
A parenting plan’s schedule for dividing up physical custody is an essential component.
5. Decide How to Share Holidays and Special Occasions
It is imperative that you consider the allocation of the child’s time during significant holidays. This can include any significant family holiday that might call for a change in the regular parenting routine, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and so forth.
6. Establish a Policy for Vacations
Numerous parenting schedules give each parent multiple weeks of unbroken vacation time with their child. Remember that vacation time comes first and takes precedence over regularly scheduled parenting time. You should also think about whether travel is permitted and how far in advance plans must be made.
7. Deal with the Logistical Problems
Numerous logistical concerns must be addressed in your plan.
8. Arrange for Child Support
To establish who will pay for what expenses, including health insurance, a child’s college education, and extracurricular activities, as well as what expenses each parent is responsible for paying, you need a separate child support plan or order.
Things The Court Will Take Into Account
If your proposed parenting plan or consent order protects your child’s health, safety, and welfare, the judge will sign it into law.
If the Judge determines that your plan is in the best interest of the child, they will consider the following:
1. Age of the child
2. Health of the child
3. Relationships between the child and each parent
4. If your child is old enough, their preference
5. Your child’s connections to the community, school, and home
6. The capacity of each parent to raise the child
7. Any proof that a parent has abused drugs or alcohol in the past
8. Any history of parental abuse against their former partner or the other parent
9. Any prior instances of parental abuse of a child.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Plan
1. What is Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a legally binding agreement that specifies the duties and decision-making processes that separated or divorced parents will follow when it comes to raising their kids.
2. What ought to be on a parenting plan?
It usually contains information regarding holidays, contact between parents and children, education, health care, and the procedures for resolving disagreements.
3. How are parenting plans made by parents?
Parents can work together to draft a plan, or they can enlist the assistance of a mediator or attorney. It’s critical to be adaptable and keep the child’s best interests in mind.
4. Can a parenting strategy be changed?
Sure, if both parents agree or if there’s a big change in the situation, a parenting plan can be changed. If modifications are in the best interests of the child, courts may also approve them.
5. What happens if parents are unable to come to terms on a parenting strategy?
If the parents are unable to come to an agreement, mediation or legal action may be required. The parenting plan can then be decided by the courts using the child’s best interests as a guide.
6. What is the impact of a parenting plan on child support?
Parenting plans and child support are two different but related topics. Child support orders are typically used to address the financial obligations separately.
7. Is it possible to include grandparents in a parenting plan?
Sure, in certain circumstances. A parenting plan may cover grandparents’ visitation rights, but it will rely on the particulars and local laws.
8. Do parenting programs come to an end?
Parenting schedules usually last until the child becomes a majority. Certain terms, however, might deal with how the plan changes as kids get older and their needs alter.