The Georgia Parenting Plan in Divorce
The Parenting Plan in Georgia Divorce
Learn about a Parenting Plan which is a required part of every divorce in Georgia that involves co-parenting of minor children.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is required by the state of Georgia in a custody agreement. Any decisions regarding custody, visitation, and how children are to be raised should be included in the your Parenting Plan.
The Purpose of the Plan
The purpose of the Plan is to establish a basic platform for the new shared parenting situation. Another definition can be found on the DivorceNet website which reads, “A parenting plan outlines the child’s needs and how the child’s time should be divided between the parents. It allocates decision-making authority between parents and explains the parameters of each parent’s access to the child including legal and physical custody.”
Creating Your Parenting Plan
Generally speaking, your Plan can be however you and your spouse choose to craft it. Every Parenting Plan will undergo a certain level of scrutiny by the court. Consequently, it is subject to being questioned, reconsidered, and changed. A divorce court judge has authority to intervene with any aspect of the Plan.
Parenting Plan Template and Worksheet
If you’re soon to file for divorce in Georgia you may want to look at this general Plan worksheet. Because every divorcing couple has a somewhat unique set of circumstances you should rely on your divorce lawyer to create a final version.
There is a multitude of things your lawyer can address that is not covered in a general worksheet. Your divorce lawyer can help you to avoid common mistakes, including things that may arise in the future. If your situation changes your divorce lawyer can help you make a formal divorce decree modification.
Georgia Laws on Parenting Plans
The area of Georgia law which covers Parentig Plans is found in O.C.G.A. 19-9-1. Specifically, the law reads as follows:
- (a) Except when a parent seeks emergency relief for family violence pursuant to Code Section 19-13-3 or 19-13-4, in all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, each parent shall prepare a parenting plan or the parties may jointly submit a parenting plan. It shall be in the judge’s discretion as to when a party shall be required to submit a parenting plan to the judge. A parenting plan shall be required for permanent custody and modification actions and in the judge’s discretion may be required for temporary hearings. The final decree in any legal action involving the custody of a child, including modification actions, shall incorporate a permanent parenting plan.
- (b) (1) Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, a parenting plan shall include the following:
- (A) A recognition that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life will be in the child’s best interest;
- (B) A recognition that the child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures and demonstrate that the parents will make an effort to parent that takes this issue into account so that future modifications to the parenting plan are minimized;
- (C) A recognition that a parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent; and
- (D) That both parents will have access to all of the child’s records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, health insurance, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.
- (2) Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, or agreed upon by the parties, a parenting plan shall include, but not be limited to:
- (A) Where and when a child will be in each parent’s physical care, designating where the child will spend each day of the year;
- (B) How holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent with each parent including the time of day that each event will begin and end;
- (C) Transportation arrangements including how the child will be exchanged between the parents, the location of the exchange, how the transportation costs will be paid, and any other matter relating to the child spending time with each parent;
- (D) Whether supervision will be needed for any parenting time and, if so, the particulars of the supervision;
- (E) An allocation of decision-making authority to one or both of the parents with regard to the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing, and if the parents agree the matters should be jointly decided, how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree on resolution;
- (F) What, if any, limitations will exist while one parent has physical custody of the child in terms of the other parent contacting the child and the other parent’s right to access education, health, extracurricular activity, and religious information regarding the child; and
- (G) If a military parent is a party in the case:
- (i) How to manage the child’s transition into temporary physical custody to a nondeploying parent if a military parent is deployed;
- (ii) The manner in which the child will maintain continuing contact with a deployed parent;
- (iii) How a deployed parent’s parenting time may be delegated to his or her extended family;
- (iv) How the parenting plan will be resumed once the deployed parent returns from deployment; and
- (v) How divisions (i) through (iv) of this subparagraph serve the best interest of the child.
- (c) If the parties cannot reach agreement on a permanent parenting plan, each party shall file and serve a proposed parenting plan on or before the date set by the judge. Failure to comply with filing a parenting plan may result in the judge adopting the plan of the opposing party if the judge finds such plan to be in the best interests of the child.