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It’s a really good idea to start thinking sooner rather than later what your
parenting plan might look like as you move forward during the custody
What is a parenting plan? It is a plan that sets forth the schedule, for
example, of when you will have your child or children. It sets forth the
exchange location. It splits the holidays between the parties.
It ensures there is continuity with your schedule and that it fits in with the
kid’s schedule. For example, dad gets Easter in even years, and mom gets
Easter in odd years. It will define what holidays look like, whether it will be
from a Friday to a Sunday or whether it’s just the actual day of the holiday.
It also defines decision making, so if the parties are sharing joint decision
making, then that would be listed in the parenting plan. It also lists those
decisions that are considered joint major decisions that the parties are
going to have to make together.
At the end of the day, the parenting plan is an order of the court. So, it is
not a suggestion. Having said that, the court welcomes co-parenting, and
the court welcomes parents to be able to agree to minor changes to the
parenting plan without seeking the assistance of the court.
Anything you can do without seeking the assistance from the court is
obviously to your benefit. So having said that, if you do come to an
agreement to change something minor in the parenting plan, make sure to
get in writing from the other side, just so you can enforce it at a later time.
Once again, a parenting plan is not a suggestion. If adopted, it becomes an
order of the court, which provides you protection. For example, your co-
parent may decide to violate the parenting plan by not dropping off the child
when he or she was supposed to. In that case, you can seek the court's
assistance and ask for the parenting plan to be enforced.