Custody Preparation for Moms

A support site provided by those that have been through the process.




If you are one of the lucky ones, you and your former partner will be able to amicably work out a parenting plan without court intervention. Or, you may be able to accomplish this through a mediation process. If not, and you are headed to trial, you will more than likely be asked to submit a parenting plan to a GAL (guardian ad litem), or custody evaluator at some time in the investigation process. The court may also ask each party to submit one.  Several judges in our jurisdiction have stated that if a parent does not submit a detailed parenting plan, they feel that parent has not given much consideration to their children's needs.  A parenting plan needs to consist of more than blanket statements like "sole custody", "every other weekend" or "50/50".  Be specific. 

Here are some things to think about when designing a plan for you and your children:

State legal and physical custody of the children.

Specify regular exchange days, times, locations and parties involved. Include both school year and summer schedules.

Spell out all holidays, referencing exchange days, times, locations, parties involved. Think about how you might need to change the exchange days, times if it falls on a regularly scheduled visitation period.

Spell out handling of school in-service days, state holidays & observances, other Federal holidays not mentioned elsewhere.

Children's birthdays. What if it falls on a school day?

Parents birthdays. What if it falls on a school day?

Christmas Break

Spring Break

1st Right of Refusal. Think long and hard about this one. If you ask for it, so will he.

We wrote ours like this: First Option to Care - If the children will not be with the parent they are scheduled to be with for a period of 4 hours or greater during weekend parenting time, the other parent shall have the option to have the children during that period of absence. Normally scheduled visitation would remain the same.

Father's Day

Mother's Day

Predetermined vacation periods. How many weeks? Consecutive or not? Specific dates or left open?

Special extended family events--grandparent's birthdays, regular family reunions, etc.

There should be a provision that encourages free and liberal telephone access between the parents and the children when in the other parentís home.

Consider e-mail access and IM access for the children.

Both parties shall agree to a provision prohibiting the use of corporal punishment.

Both parties shall agree not to disparage the other in front of the children or to others where the children can hear.

Day care and after-school care arrangements

Parent travel:  Mr. shall not leave the children in the care of others when he is out of town. If Mr. has travel scheduled for evening hours, the children should be returned to Ms. by 5:30 of the day upon which travel is scheduled.

Mr. and Ms. to split uninsured medical, dental and orthodontic costs for the children. Ms. has been and shall continue to provide medical insurance for both children. Mr. & Mrs. to split the cost of medical insurance.

Mr. and Ms. to split college expenses.

Ms. shall continue to apply for and invest children's (income) until they reach maturity. Ms. shall continue to maintain and administer children's individual bank accounts until they reach college age or maturity, whichever comes first.

If Mr. is unable to exercise his visitation, there are no provisions for make-up visitation.

Mr. will be responsible for picking up and delivering the children to and from Ms. home unless pre-arranged between the parties.

Specific provisions applicable to your situation: Ex. Children are not to be left unattended in vehicles or buildings at any time during Mr.ís care., Drug/alcohol testing/use, no unrelated parties are to stay overnight at either parents home while the children are in their care, etc.

What about if one of you moves?
What about if one of you re-marries? We've read agreements that include what a new step mom/dad is allowed and is not allowed to do.
Who pays for extra activities?
Who pays for day care if needed? Who chooses the day care arrangements?
Who can claim the kids on taxes? Many parents alternate each year.

Who pays for school supplies?

Who pays for supplies for sports? Larger items such as coats?


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