What is a Parenting Time Plan?

Parents who are divorcing or separating have to deal with a host of issues, but nothing is as important as taking care of the couple’s children. Many states allow custody agreements if the parents are able work out arrangements for the children. These states are starting to call these custody agreements parenting plans. Indiana refers to them as parenting time plans.

A parenting time plan is an agreement between the parents which deals primarily with issues of custody and visitation. Visitation is called parenting time in Indiana.

The more specific a parenting time plan is, the easier it will be for parents to stay out of court in the future.

What are the Basic Requirements of a Parenting Time Plan?

A parenting time plan is an agreed-upon arrangement between the parents that spells out the specifics of the children’s visitation with each parent. If the parents cannot come to an agreement about visitation or other issues, the court will make a visitation schedule and the parents will have to live with it. Because the court can impose its own parenting time schedule, the parents are well-advised to work out their own agreement with the help of their lawyers.

A parenting time plan includes what kind of custody each parent has and what the visitation will be. It can be as specific or as general as the parents want. There are specific guidelines as to what needs to be in a parenting time plan, which will be discussed in a subsequent article. This blog will spell out some of the common elements of a parenting time plan.

How Does a Parenting Time Plan Work?

An effective parenting time plan takes into account many different issues, including:

  • The parents’ schedules
  • The children’s schedules
  • Whether there is joint, sole or shared custody
  • Which parent has physical custody if this is not a shared custody arrangement
  • The type and frequency of communication the children have with each parent
  • How regular parenting time will be distributed between the parents
  • How holiday and recess parenting time will be divided
  • How summer parenting time will be allocated between the parents
  • Who is responsible for transportation and for the costs of transportation
  • Who is responsible for decision-making, and
  • How parents will deal with issues that are not addressed in the parenting time plan

What Does a Parenting Time Plan Do?

A parenting time plan acts as a roadmap for the parents and the children. It tells the parents where they are supposed to be at any given time and who has the children during that time. If the agreement is not specific but is more general, it allows the parents to decide what works for them and the children. A parenting time plan is more successful if the parents can work together to co-parent the children.

Some parenting time plans are not specific, which allows for changes as the children grow older. This also allows parents to include additional parenting time and make-up time if the parents can agree to it.

What are the Most Important Aspects of Parenting Time Plans?

Parenting time plans need to be based on what is in the best interests of the children. While the parents have to work around their own schedules, it’s important for the parenting time plans to focus mainly on the children’s best interests.

It’s also important for the parenting time plan to allow the children to spend sufficient time with each parent, even if one parent has sole custody. This allows the children to have both parents involved in their lives. A divorce or separation is traumatic for children. A parenting time plan attempts to help the children handle the stress of a family breakup in the best way possible.

Carmel Visitation Attorneys Are Skilled at Drafting Parenting Time Plans

Our visitation lawyer has experience in drafting the best parenting time plan for you and your family. The attorney will work with you to make sure all issues are covered. He can give you a parenting time plan that will work for your family for many years. Contact Hains Law, LLC to learn about how a parenting time plan can be prepared for you.


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