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Legal Questions about Parenting Plans

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is discussed between two parents that share custody. Parenting schedules are decided on any and all circumstances that affect the child, and the court usually makes decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. Often, when an agreement cannot be reached, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem or custody evaluator to look into the parenting plan. They will meet with both parents and make suggestions with regard to custody and parenting schedules.

A parenting plan can be agreed upon during a divorce or separation between parents. If an agreement cannot be agreed upon, the court usually draws up a parenting plan agreement that both parents have to abide by. Read below where Family Lawyers on JustAnswer have answered legal questions on parenting plans.

In Florida is mediation required for a parenting plan or is it court ordered?

The Florida courts now mandatorily order mediation sessions before any case goes to trial for parties trying to resolve issues without the court being involved. If parents go to mediation and agree on a parenting plan, then the parents would not have to go to court. If they disagree with what was mediated then they would have to go before the court for a trial and abide by the parenting plan drawn up by the court.

To file for a parenting plan do they need a lawyer? Is it illegal to take a child out of state?

To make a parenting plan one does not need a lawyer. The parenting plan can be agreed upon between the two parents, and they don’t even need to go to court if they can reach an agreement. As for taking the child out of state, that would normally be stated in the parenting plan. If it is just for a trip and not a permanent relocation, most likely they will be allowed to do so, but they would need to inform the other parent, and possibly get consent. Before taking a child permanently out of state, it is important to review the parenting plan. It is very unlikely that a parent would be allowed to take the child out of state permanently without following due legal procedures.

Can a 15 year old choose how much time they want to spend with a parent?

The child will not be able to decide whether the parents should follow the parenting schedule. Each parent should support the existing parenting schedule that is ordered by the court. Any modification to the current schedule needs to be preceded by filing a motion for change in the parenting plan. The parenting schedules may be modified as needed. The changes to the current parenting plan must usually be deemed to be in the best interest of the child for the court to grant the changes. The court will consider the desire of the child, and the child’s age would determine what weight the court gives to the child’s desires. A 15 year old child would normally be considered old enough to express their desires and interests.

In Ohio after a divorce can the father receive joint custody so that he can be in the child’s life?

Ohio does not use the term “custody”, instead Ohio courts “allocate the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children of the marriage.” When making the decisions of the parent’s rights and responsibilities for the children, the court usually takes into consideration the best interest of the children.

In allowing parental rights and responsibilities for care of the child the court will look at either of these:
• The parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the children primarily to one of the parents, allowing that parents as the “residential parent” and the legal custodian of the child.
Shared Parenting, requiring parents to share all or some of the physical and legal care of the children

Shared parenting is a term in Ohio that is also used for “joint custody.” The court may allow the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the children to both parents.

The court will also look at what is in the best interest of the children including, but not limited to:
• The wishes of the child’s parents regarding their care
• Court’s interview of the child
• The child’s interaction with the parents, siblings and other people involved in the child’s life
• The adjustment to their home, school, and community
• The mental and physical health of all the people involved
• The parent more likely to honor visitation approved by the court
• Whether either parent has failed to make child support payments
• If either parent has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense related to child abuse, or child neglect.
• If either parent has a home, or if they are planning to move out of state.

After a divorce it can be hard to understand what is best for the child. Separating parents may not be able to agree upon a parenting plan. In many cases the parents are able to come up with an agreement, other times the court will have to step in to help. If you have questions about your rights and legalities of a parenting plan, you can ask a Family Lawyer on JustAnswer for quick and affordable answers.
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