In Georgia, a parenting plan is required in all cases involving child custody. It may not always be easy to draw one up depending on how well the parents can work together.
If you are able to work with the other parent, it will be much simpler to draw up a parenting plan than in cases in which the parties are fighting. If you successful draw up a plan with the other parent, you can jointly submit it to the court for approval.
However, in many divorce cases, parents cannot agree on a plan. When this happens, each parent must submit a proposed order to the court. It will then be at the discretion of the judge to decide on a parenting plan. The judge may accept one of the plans submitted by the parents or make another plan.
In some cases, a parent may fail to submit a plan to the court. The judge may adopt the parenting plan the other parent has submitted as long as it is considered to be in the best interests of the child.
Since 2008, parents in Georgia have had a duty to draw up a permanent parenting plan for a child or children of a divorce when custody is an issue. The plan must provide for a variety of factors and reflect the child’s development. It must reflect some of the following factors:
- A recognition of the ongoing importance of a relationship between the child and both parents.
- A recognition that the needs of the child will be different as the child matures. The plan must reflect the child’s development to minimize the need for modifications in the future.
- It must reflect the fact the parent with physical custody will make the majority of day-to-day decisions and decisions in the event of an emergency when the child is living with that parent.
- The plan must lay out where the child will be and when throughout the year and which parent’s physical custody he or she will be in.
- It must detail transportation arrangements, when and where children should be exchanged, and how transportation costs will be financed. This is particularly important when the parents live a long way from each other.
- It must specify how holidays, breaks from school, birthdays, other special occasions and breaks from school will be spent with each parent.
- It should detail any limitations while one parent has physical custody of the child such as the access of the other parent to education and out-of-school activities.
- It should detail if supervised parenting time is needed. This may be a requirement if there have been past instances of violence, neglect or abuse.
Drawing up a parenting plan can be very onerous, particularly in the face of opposition from another parent. A Georgia divorce lawyer can advise you in these situations and make sure a comprehensive parenting plan is drawn up. Contact us today to discuss your options.