Temporary parenting plans create structure and stability for children during divorce proceedings, separations or in other situations when permanent custody arrangements are under development/modification. Typically lasting from one to six months, they are used to provide a stable framework for the child until the final parenting plan is agreed upon. In some cases, temporary parenting plans may become permanent.
What’s Covered in a Temporary Parenting Plan
Temporary parenting plans are similar to permanent plans in regard to what they cover. The living arrangements of the child, parenting time schedules, the responsibility of healthcare, education, and other expenses, and the way major decisions will be made are all topics covered under a temporary plan.
When neither parent is capable of meeting the needs of the child, temporary child custody or temporary guardianship can be granted to grandparents, godparents, extended family, or friends. Examples include situations where there is a severe financial hardship, significant illness or hospitalization, unusual work schedules, or a history of domestic violence/drug abuse, etc.
It is not uncommon for a temporary parenting plan to become the permanent plan. The temporary plan gives parents and children an opportunity to essentially experiment and determine what works, what doesn’t, and what adjustments need to be made to the plan to meet the parent’s and child’s long-term scheduling, schooling, and financial needs.
The Importance of Filing the Plan
Parents involved in amicable divorces often choose not to file their temporary parenting plan with the court. However, by doing so the plan lacks legal backing that can protect both parents should a dispute arise down the road. Should an amicable divorce become a contentious quagmire, the temporary parenting plan provides legal protection for parents, and most importantly, their children.
A typical temporary custody hearing takes less than an hour to complete and gives the parents and their child custody lawyer an opportunity to summarize their plans for the judge’s approval. Thus, it is time well invested in the welfare of the children and can have a significant impact on the overall health and emotional well-being of everyone involved.