Visitation has been Converted to “The Parenting Plan”
The Parenting Plan -- is the new program that the Legislature created to eliminate the guessing game that frequently happens when it comes to parent-time (previously called visitation) with the children. It’s designed to ensure that divorcing parents fully understand the ramifications of a co-parenting situation. Parents who wish to share joint custody of their children are now required to define for the Court, and each other, exactly how they intend to co-parent.
As mediators at the Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah, we provide the framework necessary for those who want to share joint custody to create an effective parenting plan, so that you, as parents, can implement it.
The required parenting plan must provide for the child’s physical care and emotional stability, and his or her changing needs as he/she grows and matures; designate the authority and responsibilities of each parent with respect to such issues as the child’s residence, education, health care and religious upbringing; minimize the child’s exposure to conflict between the parents; encourage resolution of parental conflicts outside the judicial system; and protect the best interests of the child. What’s not to like?
With the assistance of a trained mediator, the parties can control their own destiny and act in the best interests of their children -- instead of trying to fit into the legal paradigm imposed by the court. Divorcing parents must develop a plan that addresses the following issues:
1. Child’s residence,
3. Transporting the children between homes,
4. Decision-making process,
5. Exchange of information between parents,
6. Financial obligations,
7. Medical insurance and expenses,
8. Child care,
9. Changing needs of the children,
10. Differences in parenting styles,
11. Consistency in raising children,
12. Disparaging remarks,
13. Extended family relationships,
14. New partners,
15. Maintaining/encouraging contact between parents, and
Chances are, if you and your spouse can adequately address these issues in a cooperative environment, they will be able to achieve a positive, workable arrangement that will ease the pain children inevitably experience as a result of divorce, while at the same time fulfilling the requirements of the law.