Sample Montana Parenting Plan: Misc. ProvisionsMarybeth Sampsel
In keeping with the theme of a parenting plan in Montana being as comprehensive as possible, we have a number of provisions that don’t fit neatly into a category. Today’s post includes two of those sections from the sample parenting plan I’ve been posting on here.
- Designation of Custodian: Neither party is at this time designated the “custodian” of the child. Should any state or federal law or regulation require that a parent be designated as “custodian,” the parties agree that such a determination shall be made premised upon the best interests of the child at the time such designation becomes necessary, but both parties acknowledge and agree that such designation shall in no way affect either parent’s rights or responsibilities under this Parenting Plan or any Court Order or Decree approving the same.
- Option to Care for Child: In the event we cannot personally care for our child during the times allocated to each of us other than on an occasional basis, we shall contact the other parent to allow that parent first chance to be with our child before seeking a friend, baby-sitter, significant other, relative, or other care provider to watch our child in our absence.
Although many people still refer to it as custody, Montana is very adamant about referring to the process as parenting. For this reason, under state law no single parent has “custody” under ordinary circumstances. Instead they have parenting time in varying quantities. However, the federal government and other states have not yet seen fit to change their laws to fit ours – meaning that the custodial parent can sometimes have important meaning. This provision states that while it may be necessary to refer to one parent as such, it in no way changes the actual relationship or the arrangement set forth in the parenting plan.
The second section is about practically planning for the future. As much as you want to spend time with your children, there will come an occasion when you cannot be present during your scheduled parenting time (the same applies to the other parent). This section states that when that happens, the other parent has the option of caring for the child in your absence. This is based on the common-sense belief that a child is better off with his parent than with a baby-sitter. Unfortunately, there are situations where this is not the case – and in those cases we would probably not want to include this provision. But the divorce this parenting plan is based off of was fortunate enough to have two good parents (who unfortunately couldn’t get along with one another).
A Montana parenting plan is a flexible document that can say many many different things. Remember, just because I solved a problem in a certain way in this plan does not mean that things will always play out that way. There are as many different solutions as there are people trying to arrange parenting for their children. My time preparing parenting plans for the citizens of Kalispell, Montana has taught me that there are many paths to the top of the mountain.