What to know about parenting plans in Georgia

Parents who do not intend to continue their romantic relationship have to make some challenging decisions. Creating a parenting plan is a crucial step for divorcing parents and those who never married and now intend to end their romantic relationship or cohabitation.

When you know the basics about parenting plans, you will feel more comfortable moving forward with your family law matter in Georgia. What should parents with underage children know about parenting plans?

They address responsibilities and rights

Your parenting plan isn’t just a breakdown of your custody schedule, although such schedules are important inclusions in modern parenting plans. Your parenting plan will typically also discuss how you will share legal authority and other details, like which address will technically be the child’s primary address and which parent can claim the children for income tax purposes.

The rules and guidelines within your parenting plan determine what rights you have in your relationship with the children and also when you can potentially go back to court either to enforce the order because of a dispute with your ex or to change the existing parenting plan.

You can create your own parenting plan

Every county in Georgia provides a template that parents can fill out when negotiating a parenting plan, such as this version provided by Fulton County. You don’t have to go to family court to set those terms, such as what percentage of parenting time each of you will have.

You can agree on those terms without directly involving a judge in their creation. You can negotiate through your attorneys or attend mediation to settle the issues on which you currently disagree. Of course, if reaching a mutual agreement is not possible, then you can always go to court to litigate. A judge will have to approve any plan you make to officialize it.

You can update your parenting plan when circumstances change

The best parenting plans include rules that you can adapt to changing family circumstances. However careful you are, it is impossible to completely predict what your family’s future needs will be.

Thankfully, you will have the option of seeking a modification to your existing custody order anytime there is a substantial change to your family circumstances. You will typically need evidence of those changes, and as with initial custody matters, you will have the option of either litigating with your ex or cooperating for an uncontested filing.

Learning the basics about parenting plans can help those preparing to negotiate shared custody arrangements in Georgia.

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