Though they may be divorced, parents still must make decisions together about their children.

Typically, there are four areas in which the decisions are required to be made jointly: religious upbringing of the children; medical care of the children; extracurricular activities; and education.

Even though a joint legal custodial arrangement requires that the parents share decision-making, the courts will designate one parent to have final decision-making authority in the event that the parties cannot agree.

Final decision-making authority does not allow for a parent to make a unilateral decision. Even though one parent is designated to have final decision-making authority, that parent must still consult with the other parent before making any major decisions regarding the children.

There are something the parents can do that to make the decision-making easier.

Some states, including Georgia, require that a parenting plan be filed with the court as part of the child custody agreement.

A Parenting Plan which is a written document of rules that divorced couples with children mutually agreed upon in the future raising of their children.

The main part of a Parenting Plan revolves around scheduling such as an agreed-upon visitation schedule, residential schedule and holiday schedule.

Other basic elements of a parenting plan are rules governing the children’s contact with extended family members, friends, or the divorced spouse’s future girlfriend or boyfriend. If the child is of pre-school age, you also need to address child-care arrangements.

Whether or not it is required, a Parenting Plan makes good sense and is proven to be in the best interest of the children.

Divorcing parents need to remember that they may be permanently separating – but they will be parents together of their children for a lifetime.

Divorce/Family Law