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How to Create a Successful Parenting Time Agreement

How to Create a Successful Parenting Time Agreement

How to Create a Successful Parenting Time Agreement

In Missouri, divorcing couples with minor children are required to file a parenting plan. Whether the plan is filed jointly or separately, the child support and custody agreements must be filed no later than 30 days after receiving a summons. Your parenting plan must demonstrate how you and your spouse will contribute to the child’s care and contain detailed information regarding visitation, decision-making responsibilities, expenses and other matters. 

Creating a successful agreement can be challenging, especially if your spouse does not wish to cooperate with you. A family law attorney can make the process easier to handle. Discuss your parenting time agreement with Scott Hamblin, who can provide advice specific to your family’s needs. 

What Is Included in a Parenting Plan?

The parenting plan outlines how future parent-child relationships will be structured, and ideally, both parents will play an active role in supporting the child’s wellbeing. Parents that cooperate can share responsibilities and decisions for their child’s care, but if this isn’t possible, one parent may have sole or majority of the responsibility. An attorney can help you determine what your specific plan may look like. 

Custody and Visitation

Custody refers to where the child will be physically living and which parent will take care of them. If a parent has custody, the child will live with that designated parent. A custodial parent is responsible for the everyday care and supervision of the child. If an emergency occurs and involves immediate decision-making, the other parent will need to be notified at the soonest opportunity. When a parent has sole custody, the child will spend most of their time with that parent. For a joint custody arrangement, the child lives alternately with both parents. 

There are several ways to structure a joint custody arrangement. Traditionally, the child divides their time between each parent’s household. In other cases, the child remains in the family home and the parents are the ones who switch places to live with the child. The agreement should also include a location where the child is picked up when exchanged between households. A joint child custody agreement provides both parents with significant amounts of time spent with their child, and the amount of time is divided differently based on the exact arrangements needed. 

Decision-Making Rights and Responsibilities

A parenting plan also addresses legal custody, which includes the ability to make decisions and handle responsibilities that concern the child’s education, health and welfare. When a parent has sole custody, they are provided the responsibility of making important legal decisions for that child. Joint custody allows both parents to make different decisions as outlined, such as choices related to religious affiliation, special talents, childcare and schooling. 

Children’s Expenses

Both parents have a responsibility to financially support the child. These may be done through child support payments to ensure the child has shelter, food, clothing, medical care and education. Whenever possible, all expenses should be listed in the parenting plan to maintain the right amount of child support, if applicable. 

An Attorney Can Help Protect Your Family’s Best Interests

Creating an effective parenting plan is easier when you understand what an effective plan should include. As your family’s needs continue to change, an attorney can assist you with modifications to the original decree. Contact Scott Hamblin today to discuss your child custody case. 

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