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Parenting plan required in Georgia custody cases – Part 1

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Any case in Georgia involving child custody must have a formal parenting plan incorporated into the final decree. OCGA §19-9-1. There are several requirements for the mandated parenting plans. The parenting plan MUST include:

(A) A recognition that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life will be in the child’s best interest;

(B) A recognition that the child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures and demonstrate that the parents will make an effort to parent that takes this issue into account so that future modifications to the parenting plan are minimized;

(C) A recognition that a parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent; and

(D) That both parents will have access to all of the child’s records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.

OCGA §19-9-1(b)(1)(A)-(D). These acknowledgements force the parents to think through how they will work together in the broader sense to raise their children. These statements must appear in any settlement agreement and/or final judgment and decree. To ensure compliance, it is recommended that the wording of the statute be followed very closely, if not exactly.

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