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Parenting plan required in Georgia custody cases – Part 2

Any case in Georgia involving child custody must have a formal parenting plan incorporated into the final decree. OCGA §19-9-1. In addition to the general acknowledgments discussed in the previous blog, there are also several specific things that must be included in the parenting plan:

(A) Where and when a child will be in each parent’s physical care, designating where the child will spend each day of the year;

(B) How holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent with each parent including the time of day that each event will begin and end;

(C) Transportation arrangements including how the child will be exchanged between the parents, the location of the exchange, how the transportation costs will be paid, and any other matter relating to the child spending time with each parent;

(D) Whether supervision will be needed for any parenting time and, if so, the particulars of the supervision;

(E) An allocation of decision-making authority to one or both of the parents with regard to the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing, and if the parents agree the matters should be jointly decided, how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree on resolution; and

(F) What, if any, limitations will exist while one parent has physical custody of the child in terms of the other parent contacting the child and the other parent’s right to access education,health, extracurricular activity, and religious information regarding the child.

OCGA §19-9-1(b)(2)(A)-(F). These items give specific guidance to parents as to all the details surrounding custody and visitation in an effort to eliminate confusion or disagreements.

Ideally, the parents will work together to come up with a parenting plan that addresses their unique situation. However, if the parents are unable to agree, each party shall file a proposed parenting plan with the judge, who will make the ultimate decision considering both proposals and the best interests of the child. OCGA §19-9-1(c).

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