What should you include in your Utah parenting plan?

Like other Utah parents who have decided to raise their children separately, you may use a parenting plan. Such plans are agreements between people who share a child in common. They outline how you and your child’s other parent will raise and share time with your child. In order to create stability and predictability in your life, there are a number of elements you should include in your parenting plan.  

Perhaps the most commonly included element in parenting plans is a residential schedule. According to the Utah Courts, visitation schedules stipulate which parent has the child on specific days. This should include birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. You might even find it helpful to include vacations in your parenting plan.

When co-parenting, situations may arise in which you and your child’s other parent disagree on what is best for your child. In order to help resolve such disagreements, it may be useful for you to include the methods you will use to reach a decision in your parenting plan. Having a plan in place ahead of time may help avoid further disagreements regarding how to handle a dispute. Additionally, it will ensure you are able to put your child’s needs first and reach a decision.

The Utah Courts point out that while a child is living with a parent, he or she is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions. Additionally, the law specifies that either parent is able to make emergency decisions regarding their child’s health and safety. There are, however, a number of other decisions that may come up when raising a child. It may be of benefit to include statements about whether you, your child’s other parent or both of you will share the responsibility of making decisions about your child’s health care, education and religious upbringing.

Situations may arise that cause you or your child’s other parent to want to relocate. In order to avoid a long, drawn out dispute, your parenting plan should include stipulations for relocations. This may include how much notice must be given before a move and how the changes to the parenting schedule will be handled.

For more information about parenting plans, please visit our child custody and visitation page.

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