For couples who do not have children together, divorce means a clean break. Once you have a divorce decree from the court declaring you legally single, you are free from the legal obligation of trying to get along with your former spouse. If you have children together, everything changes. Before you decided to divorce, you probably put careful thought into how the decision would affect your children; after you divorce, you and your spouse must still work together to put your children’s best interests first.
Of course, that is no simple task; agreeing to the major and minor decisions involved in raising children is a challenge, even for couples who are completely committed to staying married for better or for worse. Therefore, parents who are not married to each other, including divorced parents, must file a parenting plan with the South Carolina courts in which they formalize their decisions about co-parenting. If you have questions about instituting or modifying a South Carolina parenting plan, contact a child custody lawyer.
South Carolina Parenting Plans at a Glance
Here are some key facts about South Carolina parenting plans:
- All parents of a child younger than 18 years must file a parenting plan with the court. This includes divorced parents and parents who were never married to each other. You can print the sample parenting plan form from the court’s website, but it is just a guide. If you write your own parenting plan using a different format, such as plain paragraphs, it is still valid as long as it includes all the required information.
- “Custody” in the first question includes physical custody (where the children live) and legal custody (who has the authority to make decisions about the children). If you wish to make separate provisions for each type of custody, you may specify this on the form.
- The form asks about four particularly conflict-prone decisions, namely education, extracurricular activities, medical and dental care, and religious instruction.
- The form asks parents to specify who will have the children on each of 18 holidays. It is possible to customize this part of the form, which includes both Christian and Jewish holidays; you can remove religious holidays that your family does not observe and add ones that you do.
- The form also asks about where the children will spend days off from school, such as teacher planning days at the end of the school term.
- Parents can also specify what the children are not allowed to do, such as using the Internet without adult supervision of spending time with a parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Parents may specify how often and by what means the children should contact them when they are with the other parent, such as one phone call per weekend.
Contact Briggs Law Firm Divorce Lawyers About Parenting Plans
Co-parenting with your ex-spouse is a challenge even if you had a relatively amicable divorce. A Greenville SC family law attorney can help you keep the peace with your children and their other parent. Contact the Briggs Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina to discuss your case.
Sam Briggs embraces the challenge and stimulation of practicing, with the satisfaction of advocating for our clients to the best of our abilities. Alongside his father Larry, Sam Briggs has created a family and personal injury firm that focuses on creating and maintaining a close working relationship with their clients. The Briggs Law Firm lawyers will ensure that you are always diligently represented and look forward to zealously advocating on your behalf.