When parents are separated, a Parenting Plan can help them think about how they will make decisions for their children. In Utah, the parents must file a parenting plan with the court whenever joint custody is awarded.
It must include the methods the parents will use to make a decision when they disagree. This could include counseling, mediation, arbitration or another form of alternative dispute resolution. The Parenting Plan must also include a residential schedule where the child will be on certain days, including birthdays, holidays, vacations and other events.
The parents should decide which parent is responsible for making decisions about education, healthcare, and religion. They may also include clothing purchases, after school activities, and other similar topics. In most plans, each parent may make day-to-day and emergency decisions while the child is living with the parent.
Parenting Plans must also include a relocation plan for each parent, including the amount of notice the relocating parent must give, who will pay for the child’s travel, and how the parent time schedule could change.
Enforcing the Parenting Plan
Parents can jointly prepare and file the Parenting Plan. If the court enforces this plan, then if one of the parents does not follow the plan, the other parent can file a motion with the court to enforce the order. However, the parent who files the motion must continue to follow the approved plan until the court changes it.
If parents have questions about parenting plans or other child custody matters, there is help available.