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Importance of a parenting plan in child custody

New Jersey parents whose marriages are ending may know that providing the court with a viable parenting plan is an important way to ensure that their children are cared for after divorce. The court reviews the plan and may have related questions before it is approved. Knowing what needs to be done and enlisting assistance when needed makes achieving this end possible.

While all parenting plans are different, such arrangements share similar features. The plans decide physical child custody as well as legal custody. This ascertains where children will reside and who will make major decisions concerning the child. Sometimes parents share such a responsibility, and the child may live predominantly with one parent or share time equally. A parenting plan decides how visitation will work and where the child spends major holidays. It also includes ways in which problems concerning the agreement will be settled should they arise in the future.

The parenting plan is a detailed picture of how parenting will be handled. The arrangement strives to be in the best interests of the child. If there are problems that are difficult to overcome, resolution may come in the form of mediation. In general, every effort is made to find ways to settle conflicting views and reach a plausible plan that is capable of being followed.

Unfortunately, parenting plans are not always followed even though they are part of a court order. If one parent consistently breaks the agreement, the other parent may petition the court to rectify this behavior. In addition, the court has the ability to modify the plan when changes need to be made. Consulting an attorney when a parenting plan is being negotiated may help a parent in protecting his or her access to the child.

Source: FindLaw, "The Parenting Agreement", accessed on Feb. 23, 2015

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