Have a (Parenting) Plan

June 29, 2009

Many people, particularly dads, come into the office with the idea that they would like to have “50/50” in regards to custody and physical placement arrangements.  Shared parenting is a lofty goal.   However, for some people, it is difficult to come up with concrete details as to how a shared parenting proposal would actually work in practice.

This is where the Parenting Plan can be helpful.    A Parenting Plan is a relatively new creature of law.  It is designed to explain to all parties and the Court exactly how a parent’s proposed legal custody and physical placement will operate in real life.  It covers many parenting topics, including:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Child care
  • Holidays
  • Transportation

Section 767.41 (1m) of the Wisconsin Statutes requires moms and dads to file a Parenting Plan with the Court under certain circumstances.  But whether or not a parent is required to file a formal plan, it is a good idea for parents to review the questions addressed within the plan and be prepared to answer them, whether it be to an attorney, Guardian ad Litem or Judge.   Knowing answers to these questions helps parents organize their thoughts and communicate more clearly. 

Prepared, knowledgeable and organized parents are in a better position to achieve results in Court.   It also prepares them be more effective co-parents with their exes in the long run.  Isn’t that what children of divorce deserve?

4 Responses to “Have a (Parenting) Plan”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    “Isn’t that what children of divorce deserve?”

    Absolutely! I think many parents don’t focus on the real answers to those questions and they definitely should. Good post!

  2. John Says:

    I have a concern about shared parenting. I submitted a shared parenting plan for 50/50 parenting of my child but was denied by the guardian ad litem because I was working full time and going to nursing school at the same time. I was given 2 days during the week, every other weekend, and 1 week a year for vacation. I pay for medical insurance and half of medical expenses not paid by the insurance and 200 dollars a month for child support. After I graduated nursing school my ex quit her job and started a review of child support in which she was awarded 586 dollars a month in child support. I went to my lawyer about trying to amend my shared parenting plan for 50/50 parenting time and lowering my child support. He told me that, he could file it but in the end since she is opposed to it, the courts will side with her since the parenting plan in place is working and in ohio family law the mother has more right to the child than the father and that I would more than likely have to pay more child support because she still isn’t working and in ohio family law the father is sole responsible party for the finacial support of the child. I don’t understand this since it seems that she is getting rewarded for not supporting our child. I am still paying back student loans, paying a house loan, pay for our child’s expenses while he is at my house(ie clothes, food, furniture, toys, ect….) and other bills for living and barely making it. My lawyer stated even if i get 50/50 parenting time that i’m still looking at paying 586 a month in child support. I thought about getting second job part time to have a little spending cash to be able to take my son to fun events or amusement parks or something but my lawyer says she would get a good chunk of that money also since the is no cap on child support. My ex uses the support money to buy him expensive gifts(ie xbox 360, ipod, nitendo wii, a dirt bike, playstation 3, and games for those game stations ect…), weekends at family resorts like great wolf lodge, weekends at cedar point ect… she doesn’t have to work because all her living expenses are paid by her boyfriend that she lives with and has a good paying job. she says that she enjoys profiting from my hard work and can give our son anything he wants. I don’t want to sound like I am crying or trying to get out of doing my fair share for our child. I am a good man and want to raise our child with my ex but I don’t understand why there are no anti-profiting laws for child support? or why the mothers rights are more important than the fathers rights in a shared parenting plan?

    • John, thank you for your comments.

      I cannot respond to your remarks on Ohio law. Each state has its own set of divorce laws, and I am not familiar with the laws in Ohio. I strongly encourage you to seek a legal opinion from an appropriate professional in Ohio as to your situation.

      In Wisconsin, there is no legal presumption favoring the mother. The law here presumes that legal custody should be granted to both parents jointly. Wisconsin law also provides that the Court should maximize time with both parents, based upon the best interests of the child.

      It is my understanding that in most states, the payment of child support is formula-based. Here in Wisconsin, even parents with equal time may pay child support, because the formula takes into account the income of each parent.

      I wish you the best of luck with your case.

      Jolene Schneider

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