What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a written agreement between you and the child’s other parent. A parenting plan is always required in Kansas as part of a custody order, so if you and the other parent cannot agree on one, a judge will make one for you. Even if you cannot agree on a parenting plan with the other parent, you will still be asked to suggest your own parenting plan.
There are two types of parenting plans: temporary and permanent.
A temporary parenting plan will be created (by you or the judge) for the period of time between when you file for custody and get your final custody order. After you write up a temporary parenting plan, you must file it with the court and give a copy to the other parent or the other parent’s attorney. A temporary parenting plan must address:
- temporary legal custody of the child;
- temporary residence for the child;
- allocation of parental rights and responsibilities regarding the child’s health, education and welfare;
- a schedule for the child’s time with each parent.1
If your child’s other parent files a temporary parenting plan with the court and you do not agree with it, you can file a response. In your response, you will write up your own temporary parenting plan and have a copy delivered to the other parent or his/her attorney. Courts are required by law to give parents information about how to prepare a parenting plan.2 The judge will most likely decide on a temporary parenting plan based on what is in the best interests of your child.
For more information on how to file a temporary parenting plan, or respond to a plan that the other parent filed, we recommend contacting a lawyer for advice. See our KS Finding a Lawyer page for legal help in your area.
A permanent parenting plan is similar to a temporary parenting plan in many ways. If you and the other parent agree, you can file the permanent parenting plan together and a judge will assume that it is in the best interest of your child. However, the judge can reject an agreed-upon parenting plan if the judge states why the agreed-upon parenting plan is not in the best interests of the child.3 A permanent parenting plan must address:
- who has legal custody;
- a schedule for the child’s time with each parent;
- the procedure by which disputes between the parents should be resolved without need for court intervention; and
- if either parent is in the military, it must address the custody and parenting time arrangment if the parent is deployed.4
If both parents disagree on a plan or if due to domestic violence, you are unable to make decisions together, you can file two separate plans with the court. When you file two separate plans, you will need to have a copy of your plan delivered to the other’s parent or to his/her attorney. A judge will take these two plans into account when deciding on a final parenting plan.
We recommend contacting a lawyer about what information you should include in a permanent parenting plan. Please see KS Finding a Lawyer for legal help in your area.
1 K.S.A § 23-3212(b)
2 K.S.A § 23-3212(c),(d)
3 K.S.A. § 23-3202
4 K.S.A. § 23-3213(b)