Spokane Lawyer ~ Attorney ~ Family Law

Spokane, Washington

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Family Law ~ Parenting Plans

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What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan or residential schedule is a court order that allocates your child or children's time between the Mother and Father's households.

What Does a Parenting Plan Do?

A parenting plan will designate the custodian parent or reference a "shared" or "joint" schedule between the Mother and Father. Depending on the age of your child or children, a parenting plan will specify where, with whom, and when a child will reside or visit for his/her under school and school schedule, winter and spring breaks, summer vacation, holidays, and special occasions.

A parenting plan also includes a priority schedule. If any two provisions conflict, say your child is scheduled to be with you on the 4th of July holiday and be with the other parent for his/her summer vacation at the same time. The priority schedule will clarify where and with whom the child should be by putting greater emphasis on the more important provision. For example, if the parenting plan prioritizes a holiday above a vacation with parent, then the parent scheduled to have the child on the 4th of July (pursuant to my hypothetical above) should receive the child at that time. This provision is designed to help clarify any such ambiguity between the parents without the need for mediation or further court action.

A parenting plan will also identify the transportation arrangements between the household by defining when and where each parent is required to transport the child or children between households.

Decision making authority is another provision included in a parenting plan. Major decisions, such as education, non-emergency, and religious decisions, are either made "jointly" or can be made only by one parent if a limitation or restriction applies between a parent and child. Typically, the day to day decisions are made by the parent residing with the child at that time.

Another important provision in a parenting plan is dispute resolution. Conflict and disagreements commonly arise between parents. Whether the issue centers around schooling or if an adjustment should result to account for a change in ones work schedule, a proper parenting plan will require both parents to attend mediation, arbitration, or counseling with a professional in your area. Because the courts require parents first attempt to resolve certain differences on their own before litigation, a dispute resolution provision in your parenting plan can be a quick and cost efficient remedy to court action.

Lastly, an effective parenting plan may also include "other provisions" that help craft your parenting plan to the specific facts and circumstances in your family law action. While both the mother and father are each entitled to receive the child's school and medical information, other provisions can be included into a parenting plan that designate certain provisions, such as telephone contact or attendance at school, social, and extracurricular events. Other provisions may also require parents complete educational or rehabilitative conditions to help overcome impairments or become more responsible to a child.

Phone for Free Consultation: 509.325.0125


Parenting Plan Menu
Parenting Plans: Definition & Purpose Policy & Litigation of Parenting Plans
Temporary vs. Final Parenting Plans Parenting Plans Modifications
Statutes Relevant to Parenting Plans


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Phone: 509.325.0125
Fax: 509.456.2085
Paul A. DiNenna, Jr.
7 S. Howard, Suite 425
Spokane, WA 99201



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Parenting Plans are an important issue in Divorce and Family Law