Salt Lake City Attorneys Provide Critical Guidance in Helping You Establish a Court-Approved Parenting Plan
Making sure you are a part of your child’s future
Utah divorce law requires that a parenting plan be developed and ratified by both spouses when the court decides that either legal or physical custody of a child is to be shared, and when one spouse requests a change to an existing shared parenting arrangement. Our attorneys at Huntsman | Lofgran help explain the ramifications of each aspect of the parenting plan and ensure that your arguments are heard. We offer compassionate, objective counsel and tenacious representation in all family law matters.
What can be complicated about a parenting plan?
In a word: everything. As with the issue of child custody, a parenting plan anticipates future events in your child’s life and how your child is to be parented at that time. The purpose of the plan is to get both spouses to think ahead of time about how important child-rearing decisions — and parental disagreements — are going to be made later and to provide a more predictable, stable and less anxious future for your child.
A parenting plan is open-ended in that it may cover any eventuality you would like to see addressed, but by law it must include:
- The methods you employ to reach a decision when you disagree (mediation, arbitration, etc.)
- A schedule that shows where the child sleeps on certain days, including holidays, birthdays, vacations and other special events
- A statement stipulating if one parent or both is responsible for making decisions about education, healthcare and religious upbringing (Other decisions, such as those regarding after-school activities, clothing purchases or whether or not to permit tattoos before the child turns age 18, may be included.)
- A plan that addresses what happens should one parent want to relocate (The plan must state the amount of notice the relocating parent must give and any changes in parent-time scheduling, along with whom is going to pay for the child’s travel.)
Though the parenting plan is intended to be a guiding factor, it does not preclude each parent from making day-to-day decisions while the child is living with that parent nor from making emergency decisions on behalf of the child’s health or safety.
Using a parent coordinator and modifying a parenting plan
The court may order that a parent coordinator, a mental health coordinator with expertise in child development, work with the spouses to help bring about an agreement on the parenting plan issues. Neither parent is compelled to accept the coordinator’s recommendations.
Once a parenting plan is set, the court expects neither spouse to violate it. One parent’s violation of the plan does not give the other parent license to deviate from it likewise. When a parent’s circumstances change or a parent otherwise finds the plan unworkable, he or she may petition the court to draw up a new parenting plan.
Contact a law firm that offers perspective and advice for the long term
Our attorneys at Huntsman | Lofgran in Salt Lake City understand the ramifications of parenting plan components and provide you with a greater perspective in planning for the long term. Call us at 801.838.8900 or contact us online today to make sure your and your child’s best interests get the representation they deserve. Put our knowledge and experience to work for you.