What is a Parenting Plan/Custody Agreement?
A parenting plan and a custody agreement are essentially synonymous.
They are both documents designed with the purpose to help parents/legal guardians who are not cohabiting, clearly outline the details of the custody arrangement, so both parties fully understand the nature of the arrangement.
The intentions of this document are to prevent problems or issues from arising down the road.
The document must include:
1. If a dispute arises, a format both parties must follow as to how the issue will be resolved
2. The specificities of decision-making rights for each party
3. The exact visitation schedule
4. The designated responsibilities of each party explicitly lined out
5. How the expenses of the child or children will be paid
Do I Need A Parenting Plan/Custody Agreement?
In the state of Missouri it is required by law that the parties involved submit a proposed parenting plan or custody agreement to the judge/court.
This plan can be created and submitted either, individually or jointly.
This all depends on the nature of the specific situation; however both are viable options to this essential step in these proceedings.
What Are Temporary Orders, and What Can I Expect from Them?
It is important to remember that a divorce proceeding, is a lawsuit.
Lawsuits are notorious for being slow moving processes, due to the fact courts must resolve all issues within the case, between each party.
Temporary orders are made during the interim of the legal process, and these remain in effect until the court makes final rulings and orders regarding the case.
Example's of temporary orders that the court may impose, include but are not limited to:
1. Parenting plans/custody arrangements for the parties child/children
2. Visitation schedules for each party and their child/children
3. General maintenance
4. Order to pay off accrued debts
5. Child support payments
6. Miscellaneous costs, in some cases that includes legal finance.
What Exactly is "Visitation"?
Visitation is the legal term referring to the time in which a non-custodial parent or guardian will be granted to have with the child/children.
Traditionally visitation must have a document included with it. In this document there is a specific, clearly outlined plan, stating what the routine times for the non-custodial parent to see/have the child or children are.
The document will also go over how summers and holidays will be divided for the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent.
It is of the utmost importance this visitation plan is concise, clear, and explicit. If the visitation schedule does not meet these criterion then the more likely it is for conflict amongst the parents to arise; causing more stress on the child or children being subjected to the visitations, as well as the parents.
These issues can all be avoided by having absolute clarity in the documents pertaining to visitation schedules.
What if the Other Parent and I Are Unable to Reach an Agreement on a Parenting Plan?
In the event that both respective parties in this matter are unable to reach an agreement on all; or any aspect of the custody arrangement or their parenting plan for their child or children, the next step is generally having both parties go through a mediation session or sessions if necessary.
However, if after the mediation sessions have taken place, and the parties are still unable to reach an agreement on their parenting plan document, the court will have no other choice but to schedule a hearing in which both parties are given the opportunity to make their case to the judge with each party's provided evidence, as well as testimonies, if they choose to take this route.
After the hearing, the court then will make their official custody order.
At this point, for all resolute purposes, this will be viewed by the state of Missouri as the final ruling in regards to the parties parenting plan, and or custody agreement.
How Can I Increase My Chances at Getting a Larger Custody Agreement?
This is a frequently asked question with concerned parents going through the divorce process. Simply put, there are certain things you can do to help your custody case, as long as it is in the best interest of the child/children.
That being said every legal case is unique, and this is especially true in family law cases.
This topic is one that should be discussed with one of our highly experienced, qualified attorneys that will examine your particular case, and give you discrete legal advice with a personalized approach.
Unfortunately, this is a question that is challenging to effectively answer in broad sense, due to each case's tendency to have a vast array of complexities.
When will Child Custody be Decided?
Custody of the parents, or parties' children will always be officially decided by the court, in all circumstances.
The court's custody decision is to be made on what they believe is in the best interest of the child or children; not the parents.
Even in the circumstance where both of the parents agree to a parent plan and/or custody arrangement; it is still within the courts rights to make its legal determination as to whether or not the proposed plan agreed upon by the parents of the children is appropriate for the child/children. The court may approve or deny a proposed parenting plan/ or custody arrangement as it sees fit.
When am I Allowed to Pursue Modifications to Custody Agreements or Parenting Plans?
The only time you may pursue changing the custody agreement or parenting plan in the state of Missouri is if there is substantial long term evidence of a new development in the case. The key word here is "new". If there is nothing new in either parties lives/living situations; or child/children's lives, the a Missouri court will not modify the custody agreement or parenting plan they ruled on.
Obtaining the best legal counsel on the market for custody agreements and parenting plans is in the best interest of you, your child/children, and the other party.
The Higher Level Law Firm is equipped with attorneys that will provide you with the support you need in and out of the court room with document preparation, mediations, and all of the intricacies that come along with custody agreements and parenting plans. We will diligently pursue your legal goals, and what is in the best interest of you and your family.
Do not hesitate to reach out to The Higher Level Legal Law Firm today.
Our staff will speak with you, answer any questions you may have, and get you scheduled for a consultation with one of our passionate and educated attorneys.
We promise to work with you in an efficient manner that works with your schedule, so we can begin helping you and your family navigate this process in our signature personalized, pragmatic, and experienced legal approach our firm prides itself on.