Uncontested Divorce Parenting Plans
Georgia Uncontested Divorce Parenting Plans
In any divorce in Georgia in which there is a minor child born to the parties or adopted by the parties, a Parenting Plan is required. A Parenting Plan is required in both a contested or an uncontested divorce. The main difference between uncontested divorce Parenting Plans and those for a contested divorce is that the parents create their own Parenting Plan while the judge will create a Parenting Plan in a contested divorce since the parents cannot agree.
There are several major components of an uncontested divorce Parenting Plans and they vary from case to case. However, the major elements that make up any Parenting Plan must comply with Georgia law and must be in the best interest of the minor child for whom the Plan is written.
Some Details about a Parenting Plan for a Georgia Uncontested Divorce
Legal Custody, Dispute Resolution for legal custody issues, Physical Custody, a detailed Visitation schedule and the Point of Exchange of the child for co-parenting/visitation are the main elements for the Parenting Plan. Other issues such as payment of the costs of visitation should also be addressed in the Plan.
It is common (but not required) that both parents share legal custody of the child/ren. Sole custody is less common today but still exists if there is a clear primary parent in the relationship. Legal custody is simply the process of making decisions about the child’s upbringing. There are four major areas of legal custody:
Non-emergency health and dental care; Education; Religion and Extra-Curricular activities. If the parents share joint legal custody of the children, it is required that they discuss all significant legal custody matters to attempt to actually reach a joint agreement. However, if, after that discussion, the parties cannot agree, then the Dispute Resolution mechanism is triggered. Typically, but not always, the dispute is resolved by one of the parties as “tiebreaker.” The tiebreaker authority can be given to the primary physical custodian or the parties shall each have specific areas that each is responsible to decide.
Physical custody is simply where the child/ren resides most of the time. It is possible to have equal and shared physical custody if the parties can work closely together (and leave near each other) as parents following the divorce. However, in most cases, there is a primary physical custodian and a secondary custodian.
We normally recommend that visitation be simply be as the parties agree. However, Georgia law requires that the Parenting Plan have a detailed, written visitation schedule. This is in case the parties do not agree in the future.
In an uncontested divorce, the Parenting Plan is agreed to by the parents and must also be approved the the Court. We can advise you and assist you in agreeing to and writing an uncontested divorce Parenting Plan that will fit your situation and be in the best interest of your child/children.
If there are multiple minor children, a single Parenting Plan will suffice. You will not need a separate parenting plan for each child unless you are separating the children so that one lives with one parent and one lives with the other parent. In that event, it may be best to have two separate Parenting Plans. However, it is our general preference to write a single Parenting Plan to cover all of the children in the uncontested divorce matters that we handle.
Georgia Law requires that every Parenting Plan in uncontested divorces contain the following specific provisions that the parties understand and agree to:
- We recognize that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life is in the child’s best interest.
- We recognize that our child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures; we have made a good faith effort to take these changing needs into account so that the need for future modifications to the parenting plan is minimized.
- We recognize that the parent with physical custody will make the day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent.
- Should the parents disagree about this parenting plan or wish to modify it, they must make a reasonable good faith effort to resolve the issue between them before filing any action with any court.
Getting Help with Georgia Uncontested Divorce
If you have a minor child born to or adopted by you and your spouse and you have questions about a Parenting Plan in an uncontested Georgia divorce, feel free to submit our Client Inquiry form.