Parenting plans are a crucial and important part of the custody arrangement of your children after a divorce. In fact, not only are they important but they are also required under Missouri law. Divorcing parents with children under the age of 18 are required to file a parenting plan.
Making sure that you file a parenting plan, and that the plan fairly protects your time with your children is essential to your relationship with them. With the assistance of an experienced Missouri divorce lawyer, you can be assured that your rights are protected and your children are cared for.
What is a Parenting Plan?
The state of Missouri requires a parenting plan to be filed in all child custody cases under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.310 452.310. A parenting plan is an arrangement which sets forth the parents' schedule with the children and their obligations, including the following.
- A written, comprehensive custody and visitation schedule.
- A written plan on how both parents will divide legal custody of the children.
- Information regarding extracurricular activities and education.
- Details about health care arrangements for the children and how any medical providers will be chosen.
- Information about child care providers and how they will be chosen.
- Methods for communication between the parents.
- Division of expenses for health care and insurance, child care, education, transportation, and other childcare costs.
- A suggested amount of child support for each parent.
A parenting plan can be made together between the parents or submitted individually by each spouse. Ideally, parents should work together to create a plan that works best for them and their children. This is often easier said than done during a divorce, but a knowledgeable attorney can help you achieve this goal.
What if We Can't Agree on a Parenting Plan?
If the parents are unable to agree upon a plan, or if one or both fails to present a proposed plan to the court, the court can order a temporary parenting plan. A temporary plan is created by the court and contains all of the required information. It will remain in effect until a permanent plan is finalized.
The Best Interests of the Children
When formulating and approving a parenting plan, the court will consider what is best for the children of the marriage. Some factors the court will consider include the following under Missouri Statute 452.375:
- The child's need for time with both parents.
- The wishes of the parents regarding custody.
- The respective parenting abilities of the mother and father.
- The mental and physical health of the parties.
- The wishes of the children.
- Considerations of any past child or domestic abuse.
- The relationships the children have with sibling, parents, and third parties.
- The residence information for parents, including any intended relocation.
Any time there is a dispute as to any of these issues, the court will ultimately rule in whatever way the judge thinks is in the best interests of the children.
Consult a Missouri Divorce Attorney
Creating a parenting plan which works for everyone involved, and takes care of your children, is incredibly important. With the help of experienced Cass County attorney Joshua Wilson, you will go into the divorce process with power, knowledge, and confidence.
Contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm today at (816) 331-9968 for a consultation.