As we approach the January 1, 2008, implementation date for HB 369, the Georgia Shared Parenting Act, we are mindful of the new requirements for parenting plans in Georgia divorce and other Georgia family law cases involving custody (joint or shared) of minor children. The 9th Judicial Administrative District Office of Dispute Resolution, covering the courts in most of North Central and Northeast Georgia (Superior Courts of Cherokee County, Fannin County,  Forsyth County, Gilmer County, Gwinnett County, Habersham County, Hall County, Lumpkin County, Pickens County, Rabun County, Stephens County, Towns County, Union County, and White County), has prepared a helpful pamphlet called “What’s Best for My Child? (Ages and Stages of Children). You can find it here or it is included below.

SOURCE:9th Judicial Administrative District Office of Dispute Resolution

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An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Parenting Plans

What is a Parenting Plan?

When creating a Georgia parenting plan, the age, needs, and personality of each child must be considered. The amount of time a parent spends with a child is in no way a measure of how much they love their child. You will both continue to be parents. Children struggle with changes and need support on how to cope with them. One of the biggest changes for children is having parents who live in two different homes.

Things to Consider When Developing a Parenting Plan

  • Conflict between parents makes it hard for children to adjust to their new
    situations. The greater the conflict, the harder it is for the children.
  • Children’s needs come first.
  • Children and all family members have a right to be safe.
  • Life may be less complicated for parents and children when there are
    fewer transitions.
  • Many children do better with a “home base” with one parent, and frequent
    contact with the other parent, although other arrangements can also work
  • As children get older, they usually can handle longer periods away from
    either parent.
  • Each child is unique. Consider temperament, personality, and needs
    when creating the parenting plan.
  • All children have a right to love, care, and commitment from their parents.
  • Detailed parenting plans may be more useful for some parents.
  • Consistency and predictability are important for most children.

Their age

Their “jobs”

Their needs

Signs of distress:

(especially if it goes on

for a long time)

5-8 years

To increase understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality

To deepen attachments with other people (parents, teachers, etc.)

To notice gender differences

To believe in fairness

To be reminded that the divorce/separation is not their fault

Structured and consistent time

with each parent if appropriate

Parental support at school and

sport activities

Support for exploring and expanding interests and relationships

Physical complaints (e.g., stomach aches, headaches, etc.)

Sleep problems

Expression of anger and behavior problems with parent most connected to

Bed wetting, baby talk

9-12 years

To feel good about

relationships and their physical development

To develop and test values and beliefs

To be connected to their school and community

Consistency and predictability in

schedules and routines

Parent support in school and sports activities

Encouragement and permission to love both parents

Reminders that the

divorce/separation is not their fault

More open communication with their parents

Loss of interest in friends and other relationships

Isolate themselves

Become “too good”

Depression and extreme rebellion


To develop greater

independence and separation from family

To develop a sense of moral values (these may change)

To express resistance and rebelliousness while forming their identity (much like two

year olds)

To be naturally self-centered

Flexibility and understanding from parents regarding their

time with friends and activities

Reminders that the

Divorce/separation is not their fault

Many teens want a say in the parenting plan

Positive role models

Reasonable, firm, and fair guidelines

Excessive anger and


Excessive isolation,


Trying to be “too good”

Difficulty with school or


Alcohol and drug use,

sexual promiscuity

Gardner, Howard, Developmental Psychology. Little, Brown & Co. (1982).
Garrity, Carla B. and Mitchell A. Baris, Caught in the Middle. Lexington Books (1994).
Hetherington, E. Mavis and Ross D. Parke, Child Psychology: A Contemporary Viewpoint. McGraw Hill (1979)
Lyster, Mimi E., Child Custody: Building Parenting Agreements that Work (3rd Ed.). Nolo Press (Jan. 2000).
Stahl, Philip M., Parenting After Divorce: A Guide to Resolving Conflicts and Meeting Your Children’s Needs. Impact Publishers
(Oct. 2000).
State of Colorado, Office of the State Court Administrator, Parenting Plan: