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What must be included in a Minnesota parenting plan?


It's no secret that divorce can be hard on children. Many divorced Minnesota parents work hard to make sure the end of their marriage doesn't mean the end of a meaningful parent-child relationship. If parents can avoid acrimonious disputes over child custody and visitation, the emotional strain on the kids can be significantly reduced. One way to reduce the likelihood of custody and visitation disputes is by preparing a parenting plan.

In general, a parenting plan is prepared by the parents and takes the place of a formal court order on custody and visitation. The plan must sets forth in detail how much time each parent will spend with the children; how the parents will make significant decisions about the children's upbringing and how the parents will resolve disagreements about the plan. It must be clear about whether one parent has sole legal or physical custody, or whether the parents have joint legal or physical custody.

Parenting plans are not mandatory. If the parents are unable to work together to write the plan, it is probably better to have the court enter a formal order governing custody and parenting time.

A parenting plan can be short and concise, as long as it contains the necessary information about parenting time and decision-making. If parents want to include more detail, they can. Some parents put specific language in the plan about scheduling around school vacations and holidays.

Writing an effective parenting plan requires careful thought on the part of both parents, as well as a willingness to work together for the benefit of the children. To ensure a plan meets the requirements of Minnesota law, it's generally a good idea to have professional legal help when preparing it.

Source: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, "Parenting Time (Visitation) and Parenting Plans," accessed May 6, 2016

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