How Parenting Plans Can Help Unmarried Parents Resolve Custody-Related Issues
Although most people associate child custody matters with divorce, the reality is that resolving parenting time and parental responsibility-related issues is just as important for parents who have never been married. For help reaching an agreement with your own former partner regarding how parenting time and responsibility for your children will be divided, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale shared parental responsibility attorney who can ensure that your child’s best interests are protected.
Parenting Plan Details
Parenting plans are written agreements that specify the rights and responsibilities of both parents with regard to:
- Time spent with their children; and
- Decision making authority related to the child’s education, medical care, religion, and extracurricular activities.
The main purpose of parenting plans is to ensure that both of a child’s parents are able to spend time with their children in a way that supports an environment of stability and minimal conflict. For this reason, parenting plans are extremely detailed, and often include specific information about not only which parent spends which days with the child, but also:
- Who is responsible for transporting their child to and from visits;
- Where the child will spend weekends and specific breaks, including holiday vacations;
- Whether certain days of visitation will be allocated to relatives other than the child’s parents;
- How determinations will be made regarding where the child will attend school and which extracurricular activities they will participate in; and
- How parents should communicate when a schedule changes or a visit needs to be modified.
Although parenting plans cover a wide range of childcare-related topics, they are silent on the subject of child support. This is because child support arrangements are a separate legal agreement, in which both parents’ incomes, as well as the parties’ time sharing schedule are taken into account.
Legally Enforceable Agreements
While parenting plans aim to prevent common custody-related issues like canceled visits, failing to pick up a child at a scheduled time, and showing up unannounced for unscheduled visits, having a parenting plan in place does not necessarily ensure that parents will not miss visits or otherwise fail to abide by the agreement. Fortunately, parenting plans are legally enforceable agreements, so if one parent does not hold up his or her end of the agreement, whether in regards to parenting time or parental responsibility, the complying parent can take the other parent to court. It is also possible for the parents to modify the agreement at a later date if either party’s circumstances change.
Call Today for Help with Your Parenting Plan
Creating a parenting plan can be a complex process, especially when a child’s parents were never married, as it may be necessary to establish paternity before moving forward with the case. For help drafting or modifying your own parenting plan, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale shared parental responsibility lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your own custody-related questions and concerns today. You can reach a member of our office by calling 954-945-7591 or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.