In Arizona and across the country, parenting plans are an important part of the overall process when two parents separate. A parenting plan lays out dates and structure to help both parents adhere to a consistent schedule. Consistency is important for the children involved and helps them feel secure.
Arizona has issued a guide for parents to help them understand and create a parenting plan. These plans are best made by the parents, as they uniquely understand their children and their own circumstances and are the most qualified to create a plan that makes the transition easier on the children.
A good parenting plan takes into account the needs of each child first, followed by the schedules and abilities of the parents. Children of different ages will have different abilities and needs; an infant is not usually suited to spending lengthy visits away from the primary caregiver, for example. There is no universal plan that will work for every child, even children of the same ages and abilities.
Ideally, parents can work together to create a child custody plan that works best for everyone involved. This is not always the case, however, so mediation or court involvement may become necessary. A judge or mediator can work with the parents and their attorneys to develop a sound parenting plan.
Because parenting plans in Arizona include information about legal determinations, it is important they are created to follow the legal issues that may be involved. Additionally, when parents are awarded joint custody, a written parenting plan is required. Professional legal assistance, when necessary, can help in developing a plan that works for everyone.
Source: Arizona Supreme Court, “Planning for Parenting Time: Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart,” 2009