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The importance of a parenting plan in court

When you're going to go to a child custody hearing, it's important that your attorney speaks to you about what needs to take place. One of the things you need to have is a parenting plan.

Your parenting plan should be worked out with your ex-spouse before this hearing. If it isn't, then the judge may need to step in and make some arrangements to do with your case, which gives you less freedom to do so.

In this agreement, you should include several important things. One is a schedule that states when your child will spend time with you and when your child will spend time with the other parent. The next thing that should be included is an agreement on how you plan to divide or spend time on the holidays. Will your child stay with you or your ex-spouse? Will you share holidays by arranging your celebrations around your child, or will you simply see your child every other year for each holiday? These are things to consider.

You'll also want to discuss how your child will get to after-school activities, to the other parent's house, and so on. Knowing your child's transportation needs and having a plan in place if one person isn't able to be there is important. Finally, make sure you know how and when you can contact your child when he or she is with the other parent.

When all this is in place, the judge will listen to your agreement and make sure it is in the best interest of your child; if not, he or she may choose to make changes.

Source: State of Georgia, "Learning about Child Custody," accessed March 09, 2016

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