NH Parenting Plans – Parents in family law cases are required to file a parenting plan that sets out how they will share parenting time, parenting duties and financial responsibilities for their children during and after their case. When considering a parenting plan, make sure your proposal fits the needs of the other parent as well as your children. One sided proposals show the court you do not co-parent well and that you are not considering the best interest of your children. The family court wants to see a parenting plan that shows you and the other parent are working together to accommodate what is in your children’s best interests.
It is important to make sure the parenting plan is not too vague or one that is overly complicated. A proposal that is not specific enough or too complicated will not work for parents who do not co-parent well. Courts routinely approve a vague and overly complicated proposals thinking the parents work well together. Invariably one or both of the parents will interpret the order quite differently to suit their agenda leaving the other parent with no other option than to file contempt based on their belief on what the order means.
What Should Be Included?
The following is a good guide to keep in mind:
- Your parenting plan needs to include reasonable parenting time for both parents keeping the best interest of the children in mind;
- A good parenting plan must outline parental responsibilities and financial obligations such as child support, health/dental insurance, daycare, etc.;
- A good parenting plan has enough detail to be useful, yet enough flexibility to be realistic;
- An annual review of the parenting plan during the first few years of implementation will help to ensure it is working;
- Be honest about your parenting strengths and weaknesses, then base the plan on how those qualities match up with your proposal to ensure you meet your children’s needs.
It is best to find out your rights prior to the establishment of a parenting order, but even if you are already subject to one, a modification is possible. In either case, hiring an experienced family law attorney is always recommended. Please call Theresa Spearing at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey to assist you at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form.