Aaron & Aaron, Attorneys at Law
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What is a Parenting Plan and Do You Really Need One?

A parenting plan is an agreement between mother and father that specifies how you plan to share visitation and make important decisions about the children's education, health and overall well-being. Each parent creates their own plan, but if you and the other parent decide to create a joint one, then this is acceptable as well. People often refer to it as a "custody and visitation agreement." Both parties should sign the final plan. The court is the authority that enforces it.

Any time that there is conflict regarding child custody, you must create a parenting plan. You present this plan to the court at the temporary hearing. Although parenting plans carry a lot of weight in court, if you do not submit one, then the court maintains the right to administer temporary and final custody orders without one. Due to the legality of the document and the conflict it can create between mother and father, you should consult legal expertise before signing anything. Parents often misunderstand their agreements when they do not first seek clarity.

South Carolina provides a standard template that you should use to create your parenting plan. You may deviate from the template and add additional documents to help clarify plans and decisions, but use it to guide you, as it contains all of the important information that must be addressed.

Remember, the well-being of your children should serve as the foundation of your parenting plan. Your children are going through a very difficult time. You need to ensure that their basic needs are met. A well thought-out parenting plan will help avoid future conflict with the other parent and will help your children to feel secure and loved.

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