In Georgia child custody disputes, parenting agreements are used to determine the amount of time each parent gets to spend with his or her children. Georgia parenting plans allow for detailed and customized arrangements that encourage parents to play an active role in their children’s lives, while protecting the children’s best interests.
Do I Need a Georgia Parenting Plan?
Under the Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. 19-9-1), parents in child custody disputes are required to submit a parenting plan to the court. In effect, these act as a parenting agreement, outlining living arrangements and regular visitation, in addition to scheduling time for the parents to spend with the children over holidays, school breaks, and special occasions.
Details to include as part of this plan are:
- Arrangements regarding how parenting time will be divided during the week;
- Plans regarding weekends and overnight visits;
- Detailed arrangements for holidays, school breaks, and other special occasions;
- Provisions for pick-up and drop-off locations;
- Authority in making decisions regarding the child, such as those involving their education, health care, and religious upbringing;
- The rights of each parent to attend school and recreational functions;
- Methods of communication, both between parents and with the child.
The primary reason a parenting plan is required is to maintain the peace. In other words, if the parties should disagree, the parenting plan will be used by law enforcement. If one of the parties is convinced the parenting plan is not in the best interest of the children, except in very limited situations, they will have to go back to court to get the judge to modify or change the parenting plan.
Through their attorneys, parents may devise a joint parenting agreement to submit to the court, or they may issue individual plans for the judge’s consideration. The parenting plan should include provisions for living arrangements and visitation schedules, along with legal authority for making decisions impacting the children. In child custody proceedings, temporary hearings, and custody modifications, the court will incorporate parental agreements as part of the child custody order.
Our Atlanta Child Custody Attorneys Can Guide You in Making Parenting Plans
Parenting plans play an important role in protecting your rights as a parent and your relationships with your children. For the professional legal guidance you need in negotiating parenting agreements, reach out to Stearns-Montgomery and Proctor. We can arrange a consultation in our Marietta, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Fayetteville, or Johns Creek office, to discuss your case and how we can assist you.