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Why temporary parenting plans are important

If you're a parent who is filing for divorce, it's important to get a temporary parenting plan in place. In fact, a temporary parenting plan is essential when it comes to protecting your interests and preserving your rights as a parent.

What's a temporary parenting plan?

Like other temporary orders, temporary parenting plans set the parameters for what you and your spouse can (and can't) do while your divorce is pending.

Unlike a "permanent" parenting plan, temporary orders are usually put into place fairly quickly and cover only the period of time between when you first file for custody and when the final custody determination is made.

With the parenting plan in place, you and your spouse are both obligated to follow it's orders. That can help make certain that your spouse doesn't decide to simply take the kids and move out of state. (Having temporary custody of the children can also prevent your spouse from saying that you kidnapped them when you moved out of the family home.)

What sort of things does the judge consider?

Temporary orders are usually put in place without a full hearing regarding the best interests of the child, but a judge will still generally keep that guiding principle in mind. That means the judge will probably consider things like:

  • Which parent normally takes care of the children
  • Which parent handles most of "work" of parenting, like doctor's visits and school visits
  • Whether there's any valid reason to limit one parent's time with the children
  • Whether the parent asking for custody is willing and able to facilitate a positive relationship between the children and the other parent

Temporary custody orders may or may not evolve into more permanent ones later on, so it's important to proceed carefully when you make your request. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance.

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