A parenting plan is a document that says who will make decisions for a child and how those decisions will be made. This often happens in a custody case.
The term "custody" is no longer used in the law. The new term is "parental responsibilities." The term "custody" is used here because it is still a common term.
These are some things the parenting plan must include:
- Where the child lives
- Time the child spends with each parent
- How each parent gets information and records about the child
- How the child is to be transported for parenting time
Because of the amount of information that must be put in a parenting plan, it is a good idea to look at a sample plan when you create your own.
Each parent must file a parenting plan in a custody case. If you have not filed an appearance with the court, you are not required to file a parenting plan, unless the court specifically orders you to file a plan. However, the court looks at your filed parenting plan when deciding who will get custody, so it is helpful to file one, even if you aren't required.
Here are some important things to know about parenting plans:
- Each parent must file a parenting plan within 120 days of asking the court for parental responsibilities;
- If the parents agree on custody, including parenting time, they can file one parenting plan (signed by both parents) within the 120 days. If the parents don't agree, they must each file their own parenting plans;
- If neither parent files a parenting plan, the court will hold a hearing to determine the child's best interests; and
- The court will look at the parenting plans when it decides who gets custody.