What Is a Parenting Plan in a Custody Case?

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When a couple with children splits, they face significant legal matters concerning custody and parenting time. During a custody case, a judge will determine which parent will have legal and physical custody if the parents cannot reach a mutual agreement. The parent who does not have the same custodial rights may create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share the responsibility of raising the child. A parenting plan typically covers custody schedules, decision-making, and dispute resolution topics. Please continue reading to learn how parenting plans work and how a reliable Suffolk County, NY, Family Law Attorney can help protect your rights. 

What’s the Difference Between Child Custody and a Parenting Plan?

Firstly, if you no longer want to continue a relationship with your child’s other parent, you will have to figure out how to co-parent together after this change in your relationship status. As you will likely no longer share a household, you must determine a schedule for spending time with your child. A parenting plan is a written agreement between parents that dictates how you will spend time with, care for, and make decisions about your children after your separation or divorce. Once the court signs off, it becomes a binding court order. You can face severe consequences if you don’t comply with the court order.

Sometimes, parents have difficulty understanding the differences between child custody and a parenting plan. The primary difference between the two is that child custody determines which parent will take care of the child most of the time, while a parenting plan determines when and where the other parent will spend time with the child. In addition, a judge will usually determine child custody, but the parents are the ones who decide on the terms of the parenting plan. Nevertheless, a judge will ensure the plan is in the child’s best interests before signing off.

What Should It Cover?

A parenting plan must be specific enough to provide clear guidelines on the terms and be tailored to your family’s particular needs. An effective parenting plan will cover parenting arrangements and each party’s responsibilities toward their children. A comprehensive plan should include the following components:

  • A parenting schedule for when the children will spend time with each parent (including holidays and school breaks)
  • A thorough list of responsibilities of each parent concerning decision-making
  • A thorough list of financial obligations of each parent (child support arrangements and medical insurance for the child)
  • Communication plans
  • Transportation arrangements for when the child will spend time with each parent
  • Visitation rights and expectations of each parent while they’re spending time with the child
  • The preferred method of conflict resolution procedures if disputes arise

When devising a parenting plan, it’s essential to identify and prioritize your objectives. However, your primary concern should be ensuring the plan meets your child’s needs and serves their best interest.

If you require assistance drafting a parenting plan, please don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. Our legal team is prepared to help ensure you cover all bases to protect your family.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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