The Parenting Plan
What is a Parenting Plan?
This is a document used in all cases involving minor children. This document allows you to state what type of legal decision-making you want and the type of parenting time schedule you want to exercise with the other party. It is important to remember that these are completed by a single party when certain Petitions are filed but they are also completed when the parties have reached agreements as to legal decision-making and parenting time and are both requesting that the court adopt their plan.
What Are the Primary Issues Outlined in a Parenting Plan?
- Type of decision-making
- Regular parenting time schedule (weekdays and weekends)
- Holiday parenting time schedule
- Summer parenting time schedule
- Schedule for school breaks for the child(ren)
- Monday holidays (examples – Civil Rights Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day)
- Vacations of both parties
When completing the Parenting Plan, it is important to remember that it is best for the parties and child(ren) if the Parenting Plan is outlined in detail as to the exact days and times as to how you (or you and the other party) wish to define each specific holiday. So this means that for each type of schedule, the Parenting Plan needs to indicate what day the parenting time begins and ends and what time the parenting time begins and ends. This avoids confusing and disagreements between the parties and helps the Court in the event the Parenting Plan needs to be enforced for either party’s failure to follow it.
Other issues outlined in the Parenting Plan include:
- How the parties will communicate with one another regarding the child(ren).
- When and how often each party is permitted to speak with the child(ren) when they are with the other parent.
- Information that each party has access to the child(ren)’s school and medical records.
- How the parties should make decisions as to school and medical issues for the child(ren).
- How childcare arrangements for both parties should be handled.
- Transportation of the child(ren) for each party’s parenting time.
If this is a joint Parenting Plan, both parties are required to sign it before submitting it to the Court. If this document is being submitted with an initial Petition by one party, it is only signed by the party who is filing it at that time.