To determine a successful schedule and agreement between parents about their children's activities, Pennsylvania may enforce the creation of a parenting plan. The parenting plan helps a Pennsylvania judge determine the scheduling and joint custody arrangements between two conflicting parents.
The key to the development of an effective parenting plan lies in collaboration. As you and your spouse want the best for your children after your divorce finalizes, the plan ensures that both parents understand their expectations in terms of parenting, scheduling and deciding all aspects of your child's life after your separation. In creating a plan and going through custody proceedings, it is essential that you hire an experienced divorce attorney, so that he or she can aid in the development of a fair parenting plan and represent you during a custody disagreement.
The contents of a parenting plan
Pennsylvania courts often require parenting plans when parents apply for joint custody. A judge determines the final custody arrangement and keeps the best interest of your children in mind when determining what agreement will suit your individual children best.
You and your spouse will collaborate by filling out all plans related to your children's lives and development. A Pennsylvania parenting plan may include:
- A schedule outlining the care and control of the child
- The holidays, parenting time and vacations agreed upon
- The healthcare decisions of the child
- Child-care activities
- Transportation arrangements including timing and pick-up locations
- An agreed-upon procedure that solves disputes if one spouse violates the parenting plan
- Any other matter that highlights the children's best interest
Parenting plans allow for parents to agree on their children's activities before heading to a bitter court battle. Determining who will have the children on holidays, who will be allowed to watch sports games and attend parent-teacher conferences and who will have access to visiting your children all fall into the contents of the parenting plan.
If you and your spouse do not agree on all aspects of the plan, a Pennsylvania judge will determine, based on a variety of factors, what arrangement will work best for your children. A judge may decide a portion of the plan by looking at elements such as:
- The relationship of the parents and children
- If any child has special needs
- The preferences of the child, if age-appropriate
If you and your spouse cooperate before your divorce process ends, you can determine, based on your own desires and your children's feelings, what plan will best suit your unique situation. You can acquire advice from your attorneys and successfully develop a parenting plan for your joint custody arrangement in Pennsylvania.