The essence of a parenting plan is who lives where, when, and with whom.

The parenting plan is a court order that accompanies a petition for divorce, separation, or custody. It outlines the residential schedule of the child and lays out who can make decisions regarding the children involved.

Before creating a schedule consider the following factors:
• The age of the child;
• How many children;
• If there is more than one child, should all the children be on the same schedule or different schedules;
• Which parent is the child closer to;
• The wishes of the child;
• The child’s developmental stage;
• Each parent’s job schedule;
• Geographical distances between homes and schools;
• Child’s community/school activities;
• The relationship between siblings.

In the Parenting Plan, you will find provisions for vacations, holidays, transportation, all other ground rules for raising your children with your ex-spouse. The plan also accounts for the possibility that one parent may move which requires notification to the other party to the plan.

When both parties agree on a plan the court doesn’t have to get involved and draft its own. And when you don’t agree, the Court can make the decision for you.

As a court order, the court has the power to enforce the parenting plan if one parent decides he or she won’t follow it. Be sure to report and document if there is such violation. But you do not want to put yourself in a situation where you are also violating the order.

The parenting plan will most likely last until the children are over 18. A proper parenting plan can give you structure and predictability, which leads to happiness for all members of the family going forward into this next stage of your lives.

At Pacific Northwest Family Law we pride ourselves in having experienced Washington State family law attorneys that keep current with the law in order to help you navigate it. Call us to discuss divorce, custody, adoption, alimony or any other family law issue. Schedule an appointment today at 360-926-9112.