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What Do Divorcing Parents Need to Include in a Parenting Plan?

 Posted on April 21, 2022 in Family Law

milwaukee parenting plan lawyerThere are a variety of issues that will need to be addressed during a couple’s divorce, and in cases where married spouses have children together, they will need to determine how child custody will be handled going forward. Couples are encouraged to work together to reach agreements on these matters, but they may encounter disagreements over a variety of issues related to how their children will be raised or how they will share physical placement. In these situations, each parent may submit a proposed parenting plan. By looking at the differences between the parents’ proposals, a court may be able to help resolve disputes and find solutions that will work for all parties involved. In these situations, parents will need to understand the issues that a proposed parenting plan will address.

Details Addressed in a Proposed Parenting Plan

If a couple will be participating in divorce mediation, each party will be required to submit a proposed parenting plan to the mediator at least 10 days before their first mediation session. If spouses are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, or if the court waives their mediation requirements, the parents will be required to submit proposed parenting plans to the court. These submissions must be made within 60 days after the mediator informs the court that the couple could not reach an agreement or after the date the mediation requirement was waived. If a parent does not submit a proposed plan, they will not be able to contest the plan submitted by the other parent.

A proposed parenting plan will address the following:

  • Legal custody - A plan may propose that the parents share joint legal custody of a child or that one parent will have sole legal custody. If necessary, a plan may suggest that specific types of decision-making authority should be granted to one parent or shared by both parents. These include decisions about non-emergency health care, education and school-related activities, childcare, extracurricular activities, or other types of decisions.

  • Physical placement - A parent may propose a schedule for when children will live in each parent’s home or spend time with each parent. This schedule will generally state the specific days that children will be with each parent on a biweekly basis. It will also specify how different holidays will be divided each year, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other religious holidays or vacation days.

  • Childcare - A parenting plan may state whether children will receive care at a daycare center or through another provider, while also detailing how parents will divide the related expenses.

  • Transportation - A plan should detail how children will be transported between parents’ homes, including which parent will pick them up or drop them off, whether transfers will take place at parents’ homes or other locations, and who will be responsible for paying transportation costs.

  • Education - A parent may specify where they expect children to attend school and how the parents will divide educational expenses.

  • Health care - A parenting plan may specify the providers who will provide treatment for children, including pediatricians, dentists, optometrists, or other medical or mental health professionals. It may also provide details about medical insurance coverage for children, such as whether either parent will include children on an employer-sponsored health plan.

  • Expenses - A parent may state the types of expenses they expect to address for their children, including transportation costs, school supplies and fees, clothing, activities, and other lifestyle costs.

  • Religion - A parenting plan may state the religion that children will be raised in or whether a parent does not expect children to follow a religious affiliation.

  • Communication - A plan may detail how parents will encourage contact between children and the other parent, including by phone, text message, email, direct contact, sending photos or copies of children’s school projects, or assisting children with purchasing gifts for birthdays and holidays.

  • Dispute resolution - A parenting plan may detail how parents will address disagreements that may arise in the future, including receiving assistance from neutral third parties or participating in mediation.

Contact Our Milwaukee Parenting Plan Attorneys

While parents are encouraged to work together to resolve disagreements about child custody during the divorce process, there are some situations where spouses may be unable to reach agreements. If you need to address these issues, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you prepare and submit a proposed parenting plan, and we will advocate on your behalf to help you reach an outcome that will protect your children’s best interests. To discuss these issues in a free consultation, contact our Milwaukee, WI child custody lawyers at 414-271-1440.




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