FAQ: What is a Parenting Plan?

Divorce is not just a legal event, it is also a family event.  A Parenting Plan is a comprehensive set of agreements to guide co-parenting after a separation or divorce.  Parenting Plans are fully legal alternatives to stipulations in a divorce decree.

Because Parenting Plans use a family-friendly process and language, they have these advantages:

  • Parents remain parents rather than having to become “parties.”
  • Parenting decisions stay in the hands of parents rather than judges or divorce professionals.
  • Instead of legal custody, parents can determine major decision-making authority.
  • Instead of physical custody, parents can determine parenting time.
  • Parenting plans include detailed agreements about many aspects of co-parenting.
  • It is easy for parents, by joint agreement, to make necessary and appropriate post-decree updates to a Parenting Plan as children grow and life circumstances evolve.

Parenting Plans include decisions that are legally binding and enforceable, like a parenting time schedule.  They also include aspirational language intended to create a safe, respectful and effective co-parenting environment, like communication guidelines, and agreement on day to day parenting routines in both homes.

Our Family Forward believes customized, developmentally-attuned Parenting Plans provide the best possible support for children during and after a separation or divorce.  We provide developmental perspective, interest-based negotiation and problem solving to guide and support parents in the creation of this important document.

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