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How Are Parenting Plan Schedules And Details Worked Out?
Who Works Out The Specific Schedule And Details For The Parenting Plan?
If the parents can agree on a parenting time schedule, the judge will usually sign off on it. There are certain things that are required to be in a parenting plan before a judge will approve it. Your attorney will be better able to guide you on this. Judges do have the ability to object to a parenting plan, although that is relatively rare.
In terms of the kinds of parenting plans that are typically seen in family court, one of the most common ones is the 5-2-2-5 equal parenting time schedule. The 5-2-2-5 equal parenting time schedule works like this: one parent has two days that are the same every week. The other parent has two days that are the same every week. The parents then alternate weekends. Typically, parent A has Mondays and Tuesdays, parent B has the children on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the parents alternate Fridays through Sundays. In this scenario, parent A would have the children Monday and Tuesday in week 1, and Friday through Tuesday in week 2. Parent B would have the children from Wednesday through Sunday on week 1, and on Wednesday and Thursday in week 2. This works out to fifty percent of the parenting time to each parent.
There are other kinds of equal parenting plans as well, although they are less commonly seen, such as the alternating weeks schedule or the 4-3-3-4 schedule. This is a schedule whereby each parent has three days each week that are always the same, and the remaining day is alternated, such that a parent will have four parenting time days in one week and three parenting time days the following week. The patter then repeats itself. There are also many unequal parenting time plans. The plan that works best for the children in light of the parents’ work schedules, the children’s school location, the children’s extracurricular activities, and other factors, is the one that the judge is most likely going to approve. The key is to find parenting plan that is not too confusing for the parents and children and will work well for the children and the parents.
Long distance parenting plans are used when the parents live in different states or different counties. There can be lots of fighting over who should be responsible for the cost of transportation in those long distance parenting situations. Another thing that parenting plans need to address is the holiday parenting schedule and the school break/summer break schedule. Some parenting plans will remain the same in the summer whereas others, especially long distance parenting plans, will change during the summer school break period because the children will have an opportunity to spend more time with a parent that they might not have lots of access to during the school year.
Another important aspect of a parenting plan is telephone or video access to the children. The frequency, duration, and dates of the calls should be carefully considered and detailed in the parenting plan. In a good number of cases, especially if the parents are working well together in their co-parenting relationship, the parents will deviate from the parenting plan from time to time or even indefinitely if they agree that a different plan will work better for them. If any kind of dispute arises later, they can always demand that they go back to the original parenting plan, because unless the parenting plan is modified formally, it is still an order of the court and is enforceable.
However, caution should be exercised, because if a father is given much more parenting time than the parenting plan and court order prescribe, he should receive a reduction in his child support obligation. The only way to do this is to modify parenting time and child support formally. A parent cannot retroactively seek an adjustment in child support in Arizona. So it is important to remember to modify the parenting plan as soon as possible, which can be done by a simple stipulation that is filed with the court, if the new plan is going to be in place for a long time. Keep mind that there are limitations on how frequently a petition to modify parenting time can be filed. The general rule is one year, but there are exceptions, so it is important to obtain legal advice about whether a modification can be requested earlier than one year after the most recent modification order.
There are many other aspects of parenting plan which further need to be considered. The important thing to know is that there are a variety of parenting plans out there and the one that the judge is likely to approve of is the one both parents agree is best, if indeed it is in the children’s best interest.
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