In Minnesota custody cases, parents may agree to enter into parenting plans that set forth details regarding custody, schedules, activities, and decision-making for the children. This “plan” is made between the parents outside of court, but in order to be binding, it must be incorporated into a court order.
The child custody attorneys at Perusse Nixon PLLC represent clients in all family law matters, including in creating parenting plans. Even when parents do not have all of the custody issues worked out between them, they can still agree to enter into a parenting plan for those areas where they do agree. If you have an impending child custody matter in Minnesota, keep reading to learn more about the parenting plan process.
Legal Representation For Your Custody Matters
The first step in the process should be to secure legal representation. You may prepare and submit a plan without an attorney, but it is important to remember that parenting plans are not legally binding until they are approved by the court. Even if you and your child’s other parent agree on custody issues, an attorney can help to make sure that your parenting rights are protected.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Parents who want to work towards an agreement on at least some custody terms can seek help from outside parties to settle their differences. There are different types of alternative dispute resolution, but they all have a similar goal of helping people resolve their family law disputes.
For example, in collaborative divorce, parents going through a divorce decide to work through their disagreements outside of the court process with their attorneys and third party dispute professionals, such as a child specialist. When they settle their custody and parenting time matters, they then put the agreed-upon terms into a parenting plan to file as part of their Stipulated Judgment and Decree with the court.
Create Your Plan
As mentioned above, you do not have to solve all of your custody disputes to create a parenting plan. For instance, a parenting plan doesn’t necessarily have to include financial items such as who pays for extracurricular activities or the child’s car insurance or cell phones. Under Minnesota law, a parenting plan agreed to by both parents must, at a minimum, include a parenting time schedule, designation of decision-making responsibilities, and a method for dispute resolution.
Additional Plan Options
There are a variety of issues that can be addressed in parenting plans that are important to you and your child’s other parent. Although not required, parenting plans often include the following additional terms:
- The amount and type of communication between child and parent
- Activities in which the child can participate
- Childcare, such as approved childcare providers and first choice of backup care
- Child’s relationships with extended family members
- Payment for specific expenses for the child
- Changes in a child’s residence
- Transportation matters and location of parenting exchanges
- Travel limitations
- Method and manner of discipline
File Your Plan With The Court
Once your parenting plan is complete, you will file it with the court along with the other court documents for your case, such as a Stipulated Judgment and Decree. The court will review your agreement and approve it if it finds that the terms are in your child’s best interests. Once the court issues the order approving your plan, both parents are then obligated to follow the terms.
It is important to note that a joint parenting plan is often not appropriate in cases where there has been domestic violence.
Contact A Parenting Plan Attorney Today
At Perusse Nixon PLLC, we understand that there is nothing more important to you than your children’s well-being. We know that parenting plans are appealing to parents because they are one way to customize terms related to your child’s care and custody.
If you have questions about child custody and you want to discuss parenting plans or other family law matters, submit an online form or call our office at 612-564-2075. We know that your priority is your child, and we want to help.