Tips for Creating a Solid Parenting Plan

Tips for Creating a Solid Parenting Plan

Parenting plans are legal documents that outline how parents will care for their children and share in parental responsibilities. Parents have to submit a parenting plan when they file a petition for custody in Georgia. If you and the other party agree on a plan, you can submit a joint plan. However, if you cannot agree, you both must file a separate draft of the parenting plan you believe would be best.

Tips & Tools for Writing a Parenting Plan

Whether you and the other party draft a joint or separate plan, there are many important considerations concerning what will work best for your family (i.e. work schedules, holidays, communication plans, etc.). Below, we offer parents a few tips for crafting their parenting plan.

  • Consider what you want your children to remember about this time. Family law cases can be emotionally draining and stressful for the adults and children involved in the case. If you and the other parent can work together, that may reduce the amount of stress everyone is under. However, if you and the other party are unable to work together, try to avoid arguing in front of your children concerning the custody agreement; they may become withdrawn or angry if they feel like they have to choose sides.
  • Ask yourself what your individual and/or shared goals are for your children. Just like the court, the best interest of the child should be your primary concern. Consider what type of custody agreement would best benefit them and that may even be the easiest to adjust to.
  • Outline what each parent does now concerning parental responsibilities. What parent handles scheduling and transporting the kids to medical appointments? Who oversees school and activities drop-offs and pick-ups, nighttime routine management, dinner, etc.? In listing out each party’s current responsibilities and work schedule, you may make it easier to determine what kind of arrangement is best for you and your family; this can also help with determining whether you want to have joint or primary legal and/or physical custody.
  • Ask what your children want. You should consider what your children want in terms of having a relationship with each parent and who they want to live with. It is also important to note that the court will consider your child’s opinion/preference, regarding primary physical custody, when they are 11 years or older. Children 14 years old (or older) will be placed with the parent they choose to live with in cases where the selected parent is not unfit.
  • Consider what the best way for you both to communicate is. If you plan to share parental responsibility and custody, you should consider whether co-parenting or parallel parenting is best for you. While parents work together and communicate more often in a co-parenting situation, parallel parenting allows parents (who may have high conflict) to still work together but with less communication.
  • Look into the different types of custody schedules. There are many different types of custody schedules: a week on/week off, 2-2-5-5-, 70-30, etc. Each plan has its own pros and cons and which is best for your family will depend on your individual needs.
  • Remember to factor in holidays and school breaks. You will also need to consider how you want to share holidays as well as school vacations (i.e summer break, spring break, fall break, etc.) with each other.
  • Research how your child’s age can impact what plan is best for you all. Depending on your child’s age, they will have different needs and are at different developmental levels, and both of those factors can affect the best custody schedule. While toddlers need a consistent routine and benefit from a schedule where they see both parents frequently, teens may benefit from a flexible schedule.
  • Use positive language. This is a tip concerning the way you write your submitted plan. You should use positive or neutral wording and avoid focusing on the other parent’s shortcomings. While you should and can be honest about the other parent and why you are making the suggestions you are for custody, a factor in determining the best interest of the child is how willing each parent is to foster a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Consult with an experienced attorney. You should understand your parental rights as well as the laws concerning custody in Georgia. A reliable attorney has a better understanding of the legal system and laws governing your case, and they can help you protect your rights. Even if you and the other party are amicable and are working together on the plan, you should have an attorney review it.

Consult with Our Attorneys

At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, our attorneys are here to help parents navigate child custody cases. We are experienced negotiators and litigators. Whether you and the other party agree or disagree concerning the parenting arrangement, we can help you:

  • Understand your legal options
  • Draft a parenting plan that is in your child’s best interest and that honors your wishes
  • Prepare for court (if you do not agree)
  • Advise you concerning the possible outcomes
  • Handle the case legalities
  • Relieve some of your stress by being in your corner

Schedule a case consultation to speak with a member of our team today by calling (866) 580-3089 or completing this online form. With over four decades of combined experience, our attorneys are here to protect the interest of you and your family.