Once a divorce or paternity action has been initiated, physical and legal custody issues may arise, along with a need to determine the appropriate parenting time schedule.
Rather than fighting over custody labels, Minnesota law allows the litigants to simply enter into an agreement called a “Parenting Plan.”
The details of a Parenting Plan are finalized by the parents themselves, and are not based on an Order of the Court; Judges have no authority to unilaterally order a Parenting Plan.
The Parenting Plan will be used in place of a specific child custody order.
The Plan, however, is a legally binding document. Both parents are required to adhere to its terms. Either party may be found in contempt for a failure to do so.
There are variations in Parenting Plans depending upon the needs of the child, as well as the needs of the parents. Some are a few pages long, and others are several dozen pages in length.
You can expect a Parenting Plan to include details about the primary residence of the child, and who is responsible for the child’s medical, educational and religious needs.
We also recommend that Parenting Plans address the circumstances of not only the child – but also the parents, including household routines, schedules and the geographic distance between households.
Finally, many Parenting Plans take into account a child’s relationship with extended family, including grandparents and other family members.