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What should we include in our parenting plan?

If you and your former spouse or partner agree to raise your children together after you end your relationship, then you will need to have a parenting plan in place. This plan establishes the rights and expectations for each parent in terms of legal and physical custody.

Because these documents are so important, you should know what people typically include in them so that you can prepare for an upcoming custody discussion or legal proceeding.

Parenting time and schedules

One of the most important elements of a Georgia custody plan is the parenting time schedule. This specifies when a child will be with each parent. In addition to a regular schedule, the plan should also include directions for holidays and school breaks.

Legal custody rights

Parents should be clear about whether they have the right to make decisions for their children. This is legal custody, and it gives parents decision-making rights regarding education, medical care and religion. A custody plan should clearly outline these responsibilities.

Communication guidelines

Communication is crucial for kids with divorced parents. As such, setting guidelines for when and how kids can contact one parent when they are with the other parent can help everyone understand and respect boundaries.

Custody exchange protocols

To ease difficult exchanges, parents may decide in their custody order to exchange custody in a neutral location, for instance. Or one parent might drop a child off at school and the other one picks the child up. Parents can set rules for exchange times and locations as well as defining who is responsible for transportation and related costs.

Other elements

Depending on your specific situation, there may be numerous other elements of a custody plan that could benefit to you or your children. This might include dispute resolution methods and allocation of travel expenses that may apply if parents live far apart.

Your custody agreement should fit your needs and reflect the best interests of your child. Keep this in mind as you prepare with your attorney for a custody hearing or discussion because it can help you stay focused on securing a fair agreement.

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