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What Must Be in a Georgia Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a document utilized by the court in child custody cases that governs how the parents will raise and care for the child. The parenting plan outlines which parent will have legal and physical custody of the minor child. Additionally, these plans can give very detailed instructions on visitation, medical decisions, religious affiliation decisions and other matters related to caring for the child. Regardless, whether a custody matter arose because of a legitimation or a divorce, O.C.G.A §19-9-1 provides requirements as to what provisions must be included in every parenting plan in the state of Georgia.

Under Georgia law a parenting plan must include:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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
  • That both parents will have access to all of the child’s records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.

Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, or agreed upon by the parties, a parenting plan shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Where and when a child will be in each parent’s physical care, designating where the child will spend each day of the year;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Whether supervision will be needed for any parenting time and, if so, the particulars of the supervision;
  • 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; and 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.

The Georgia statute O.C.G.A §19-9-1 attempts to address some of the main points of contention during some custody disputes, such as physical custody, legal custody and visitation. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on a parenting plan each will have an opportunity to submit a proposed parenting plan to the judge. This will give each side an opportunity to state what they believe is in their child’s best interest. Additionally, each side will have an opportunity to advocate and present argument in favor of their position and in opposition to the other parent. Attorneys at the Faucette Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience in assisting clients with all family law and divorce-related matters, such as contested divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, modifications and spousal support. We serve Atlanta, Fulton, Cobb, Paulding, Fayette, DeKalb, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Henry and Gwinnett. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.