Years ago, it was up to judges to decide on child custody arrangements during a divorce. Nowadays, the courts want couples to work together to create a child custody arrangement they believe will best benefit their family. These arrangements are represented in a document that is ultimately submitted to the court for final approval: the parenting plan.
What Is A Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a document that is filled out by both parents that thoroughly details the division of parental responsibilities. Essentially, it is a plan that allows parents to maintain some control over how their family will operate post-divorce. Everything from large decisions (like visitation and medical considerations) to smaller details (like who the child spends certain holidays with) can be addressed and resolved in a parenting plan.
There are two kinds of parenting plans: sole custody plans and joint custody plans. As you might expect, sole custody plans place many of the major responsibilities and decision-making powers with one parent. However, in both situations, parents are given the opportunity to collaborate on key custody issues. It is always advised that both parents have their counsel help navigate this process and protect their interests along the way.
"What If We Can't Agree?"
There's always a chance that relations between two parents are too strained for them to collaborate on a parenting plan. In these cases, the court is ready to provide a number of remedies. For instance, it may hand down its own temporary custody arrangement until a time when the parents can revisit their parenting plan.
In other cases, the court may look to additional insight to help establish a suitable custody arrangement. The child may be appointed its own attorney ("Attorney for the Child" or "law guardian") to represent their interests. Forensic experts, such as social workers or child psychiatrists, may also step in to assess the needs and condition of the child and provide the court recommendations.
No matter what your parenting plan or child custody goals may be in your upcoming divorce, having dedicated and knowledgeable representation is crucial. At Samuelson Hause Samuelson Geffner & Kersch, LLP, our award-winning Long Island divorce lawyers have assisted countless families as they faced their divorce and secured favorable, amicable results.
Trust your best interests to a Top Tier Matrimonial Law and call our offices at 516.584.4685 today.