From settling issues of custody and visitation to deciding how future ex-spouses will communicate and cooperate as co-parents, a solid parenting plan is often essential for minimizing future conflicts. As in other states, submitting a parenting plan is also a legal requirement for divorcing parents in Arizona.
If separating spouses are willing to negotiate with one another, they may create a plan jointly. If the court approves, the plan becomes a final custody order.
However, if parents cannot agree, each spouse may need to submit a proposed plan, and the court will make a final decision about custody and other childcare arrangements.
What are the essential elements of a parenting plan?
Under Arizona law, a proposed parenting plan must include several basic elements:
- A description of how parents will or will not share physical and/or legal custody
- A schedule for custody and visitation, including daily activities as well as future holidays and vacations
- A statement of the rights and responsibilities of each parent, including issues of education, healthcare and religious upbringing
- A plan for resolving future disputes and periodically reviewing the current agreement
- A signed statement that indicates that each parent will notify the other if someone registered as a sex offender or convicted of a violent crime against a minor may have had access to a shared child/children
Why is a solid parenting plan important?
Providing love and support for a child after divorce is rarely easy. In addition to issues of custody and parenting time, ex-spouses may need to navigate a wide range of future questions, both large and small.
From deciding how to discipline children or designate chore responsibilities to choosing what educational or extracurricular activities to pursue, an effective parenting plan may help future co-parents to diffuse and resolve conflicts before they occur.