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Parenting Plans May Help Parents Stay Involved

By implementing a parenting plan into their lives, New Jersey parents can provide a pattern of consistency and help to promote a healthy emotional foundation for their child. Aside from establishing regularly scheduled visits between a parent and the child, plans can confirm how each parent will contribute to, and make decisions regarding, the child’s education, religion and medical attention.

Courts understand that in parenting plans, each parent’s input is necessary in understanding and applying the best approach to a child’s developmental and emotional requirements. The parenting plan should take into consideration the child’s age, current educational schedule and any extracurricular activities as well as each parent’s schedule and responsibilities. Holidays and special occasions can also be addressed so that each parent is ensured quality time with the child on meaningful days.

Even though the parents may have had a hand in creating the parenting plan, once it is filed with the court, it becomes a court order, and a parent’s noncompliance with the order is subject to legal action. Situations in which a parent is denying the other parent time with the child or where a parent does not take the opportunity to spend time with the child can lead to modification of the order, a monetary fine and even jail time if laws are violated.

A parenting plan is a good strategy for allowing both parents access to quality time with their child, but if the parents cannot reach an agreement on some or most issues, discussing concerns or questions with an attorney may help. Alternatively, parents who have previously established a parenting plan may need to make modifications to reflect their child’s evolving needs, so an attorney may be able to answer any questions as well as offer assistance and guidance in revising the parenting plan.

Source: New Jersey Judiciary, “Parenting Time: A Child’s Right”, accessed on Jan. 13, 2015