The Parenting Plan: What to Know Before You File

wife and husband doodles in divorce process concept

If you’re divorcing and have a child who’s younger than 18 years old, the court would require that you file a parenting plan for your divorce to become finalized. The following are some basic guidelines on filing a parenting plan.

Why File a Parenting Plan

Aside from decreasing the judge’s workload, filing a parenting plan would communicate to the judge that you and your spouse have thoroughly thought about your plans for raising your child together. A parenting plan could also help the judge determine issues about child support payments.

What to Do Before You File

Before filing your parenting plan, you should consider doing the following first:

  • Consult a child custody lawyer.
  • Speak with your spouse about what you want and listen to what your spouse wants. If your marriage didn’t end well, consider going to mediation to try and resolve your issues regarding child custody, advises a top family lawyer in Kent.
  • Gather all relevant documents including all expenses related to child rearing, your child’s school schedule, as well as extracurricular activities.
  • Talk to other parents who have also made parenting plans.

Could The Court Reject Your Parenting Plan?

While the court would respect your decisions, it won’t support a parenting plan if one of the following is true:

  • If the parenting plan does not serve the child’s best interests.
  • If the judge suspects coercion, in which one of the parents was forced to agree to the agreements in the parenting plan.
  • If a parent has a history of domestic violence or child abuse and is given custody of the child.

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement and have tried to work with your attorneys and/or went to mediation and still failed, the judge would order a hearing and would make the custody decision for you. To make certain that you uphold your child’s best interests, work with an experienced child custody lawyer.