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The Devil Is In The Details: Creating Voluntary Parenting Plans.

When a divorce includes children, the Judgment and Decree typically includes an order for custody and parenting time. Sometimes, however, parents want to include more detail regarding how they will raise their children. In such instances, they may ask the Court to adopt a “Parenting Plan” which sets forth the time each parent spends with the children and how decisions regarding the children will be made. The plan takes the place of the custody and parenting-time order and must be in the children’s best interests and must be approved by the Court.

A Parenting Plan must include all of the following:

  • A schedule of the time each parent spends with the children;

  • Who will make certain decisions regarding the children; and

  • A method to settle arguments.

A Parenting Plan may also include other issues regarding the children on which the parents agree and can be as detailed as the parents want. For example, it can include limits on the type of movies the children can watch, set bedtimes, determine participation in extracurricular activities, allocate certain expenses, and set forth parenting goals.

A Parenting Plan may use terms other than “physical” and “legal custody,” but the Judgment and Decree must clearly state whether the parents have joint legal custody or joint physical custody or which parent has sole legal custody or sole physical custody.

Creating a Parenting Plan is not required and most parents do not do so. Because they usually include more details than a custody and parenting-time order, they demand that the parents be able to agree, up front, on more issues, and this is not always possible.

To discuss Parenting Plans or any other family law matter, call Kruse Family Law PLLC at 512.231.9865 or email

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