Alabama Parenting Plans
In an ideal world, parents who are going through a divorce in Mobile would agree on all aspects of child custody and would move through the process with little contention or disagreement. Indeed, while courts do have the authority to impose custody schedules on divorcing parents, this is never the desired path; instead, the legal system generally prefers that the parents come to a decision about childrearing between themselves by agreeing to joint custody, which often provides the best outcome for all parties involved.
Of course, Alabama courts don’t simply let divorcing parents make joint declarations about how they plan on raising their child throughout the future without putting it in writing. To be sure, separating parents who can agree on a joint custody schedule are required to submit a parenting plan to the court for approval, outlining specific responsibilities of each partner to ensure the well-being of the child.
While this may sound simple, the plan must include far more details than basic time allotments spent with each parent. As such, anyone interested in crafting a parenting plan in Mobile is highly encouraged to reach out to our skilled Family Law Attorney today for assistance and answers to any other family law-related questions.
An Outline of Alabama Parenting Plans
As mentioned above, a parenting plan must be relatively specific before it will be accepted by the court. According to Alabama statute 30-3-153, the following matters should be described in detail within the parenting plan before the court will award joint custody to the separating parents:
- The education and care of the child;
- The dental and other medical care of the child;
- Where and how the child will spend holidays and vacations;
- How child support will be determined, if at all;
- Which parent will have primary authority and responsibility regarding involvement of the child in civil, religious, academic, cultural, athletic, and other activities; and
- Any other factors that may have an impact on the well-being of the child.
Because the court is solely focused on the child’s best interests, it is imperative that parents be as detailed as possible when crafting a parenting plan. As described previously, a parenting plan cannot simply state that the child will spend “some” time with one parent on a given day, and the rest of the time with the other parent otherwise. On the contrary, the plan should include specific days of the week that the child will spend with each parent, as well as how and when a custody swap will occur. Furthermore, a parenting plan should include specific outlines of how and where the child will spend the holidays; for example, the document may provide that the child will spend Father’s Day with Dad, Mother’s Day with Mom, and Thanksgiving and Christmas with opposite parents, on a schedule that switches every year. This doesn’t mean that the plan cannot be modified in the future based on preferences or a change of circumstances, but this level of detail will help ensure the plan is accepted by the court without any intervention.
How an Attorney Can Help You Craft a Parenting Plan
Perhaps the most important step in the process of crafting a parenting plan involves retaining a lawyer for assistance. While a lawyer may seem unnecessary at first, especially because this process depends on agreement between spouses, a skilled attorney can offer incredible help and make sure you receive the time with your child to which you are rightfully entitled.
For one, the previously mentioned section of Alabama law continues on to state that “if the parties are unable to reach an agreement” regarding the plan, it will be set by the court. Here, an attorney can help negotiate with the opposing spouse and their attorney to avoid a court-appointed result. Furthermore, an attorney can help stand strong against a spouse who is attempting to grasp more than their fair share of custody; in this case, your attorney will advocate on your behalf to make certain that your rights to your child are protected.
We Can Help You Craft a Parenting Plan
Are you going through a divorce in Mobile and looking for help with your parenting plan? Or are you thinking about divorce, but aren’t sure where to turn with your questions? Regardless of your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Ginger Poynter LLC for help. A passionate Alabama family law attorney at our office will provide you with a consultation and help you understand the steps necessary to move forward in your case. Contact us when you are ready at (251) 445-8313 and we will begin working aggressively on your behalf.