Children can be innocent bystanders who are trapped in the middle of a Georgia family law case. Regardless of the relationship between the parents – whether the divorce is reasonably amicable or they are having endless disagreements – it is imperative to remember to serve the child’s needs.
The court focuses on a child’s best interests when it makes its decision on custody and parenting time. If there are no allegations of abuse and the child will be safe with the non-custodial parent, reasonable parenting time will be granted. There are basics with what must be in a parenting plan and both parents should be aware of them from the start.
The fundamentals of a Georgia parenting plan
A prime objective in the parenting plan is to ensure there is a relationship between the child and both parents. This is key for the non-custodial parent who might not have as much time with the child. The parenting plan also needs to account for the child’s age and development. Minimizing the need to update the parenting plan as the child ages is important. If it must be updated, the parents should work together to do so effectively.
The parent who has physical custody at the time will be entrusted to make emergency decisions on the child’s behalf. The parents will both have access to the child’s records. That includes school, medical, health, religious teaching, extracurricular activities and anything else the child is involved in.
A common topic for discord is where the child will spend holidays, summer vacations and extended time when they are not in school. The parenting plan should address this. For example, the child could spend several weeks or even more with the non-custodial parent during summer vacation.
Logistical issues must be addressed such as how the child will be transported and exchanged. In cases where the parents are not on good terms, this should be clear and the parents should do their best to adhere to it. When there is the possibility that the child could be in danger, there may need to be supervised visitation.
A parenting plan can make the entire situation easier
It is a tough transition for everyone in a family law case when a marriage ends and children are involved. Having a comprehensive parenting plan and knowing what is necessary for the court to approve is vital for the parents and the child. In some cases, the parents can forge their own agreement. In others, the court must assist them. No matter what, knowing the law and what must be included is wise.