Sample Montana Parenting Plan: Parental ResponsibilitiesMarybeth Sampsel
While a parenting plan describes how a child will be cared for by two separated parents, it really is a limitation on how the parents may behave and what they may do. In addition to limits on when the parent may see his child, or when he must deliver the child to the other parent, there are also more general restrictions. Again, this all comes down to the best interests of the child (the standard we’ve seen again and again in the parenting context).
The following are sections from an actual parenting plan prepared by my office outlining some general responsibilities of each parent and discussing how communication between the parents will take place in the future. I will note that the communication section in this plan is fairly vague. I usually recommend that my clients flesh this out more thoroughly. In this case, my client decided to ignore my advice and I know it has been the cause of some problems between them.
- Neither parent shall use illicit drugs or misuse prescription drugs while the child is in their care. Both parents shall refrain from the use of cigarettes or any tobacco products, or excessive alcohol during their time of residential care of the child and both parents shall do their best to prevent the child from being exposed to or around illicit drugs, cigarettes or any tobacco products, or excessive alcohol consumption, even if being used by other individuals.
- Both parents shall do their best to prevent the child from being exposed to profanity or sexually explicit material. The parents shall screen television shows, music, movies and video games to ensure they are age-appropriate for the child.
- Both parents shall provide their own supplies and necessities for the child when the child is in their home (i.e., clothes, food, et cetera).
- Both parents shall use appropriate child safety restraints when transporting the child, and will make the appropriate child safety restraints available to any third party they ask to transport their child.
- Both parents shall ensure the child always utilizes appropriate safety gear for any activity requiring such (e.g., bicycle helmet, life jacket).
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PARENTS
- Each parent shall promote a healthy, beneficial relationship between the child and the other parent, and will not demean or speak or act out negatively in any manner that would damage the natural flow of love and care between either parent and the child. The parents shall communicate to implement the Parenting Plan and shall communicate only in positive ways. The parents shall not make and shall not allow others to make derogatory remarks about the other parent in the child’s presence.
- Each parent shall share important information with the other parent about the child’s physical and mental health, education, discipline and all aspects of the child’s upbringing.
- At least 24 hours notice of a schedule change shall be given to the other parent. The parent requesting the change shall be responsible for any additional child care that results from the change.
Again, this is only one section of a parenting plan. Hopefully this gives you some idea of the considerations that go into drafting such an agreement, but every situation is unique and requires a lot of time and thought to make sure all the important topics are covered.