A proposed new Uniform Superior Court Rule and a model Parenting Plan have been promulgated, as part of the implementation of House Bill 369 on January 1, 2008. The new Rule and the proposed Parenting Plan appear below:

Rule 24.10.  Parenting plans

In all cases involving permanent custody or custody modification (except when a parent seeks emergency relief for family violence), each parent shall prepare a parenting plan, or the parties may jointly submit a parenting plan. 

The parenting plan should be tailored to fit the needs of each individual family but should be in substantially the following form:

PERMANENT PARENTING PLAN ORDER

The mother and father will be courteous toward each other and each child so as to provide a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child even though they are not married.  They will not speak badly of each other or the members of the family of the other parent.  They will encourage each child to continue to love the other parent and be comfortable in both families. 

This plan                      ( ) is a new plan.

                                    ( ) modifies an existing Parenting Plan dated ___________.

                                    ( ) modifies an existing Order dated __________________.

Child’s Name

Date of Birth

I.  Custody and Decision Making:

            A.  Legal Custody shall be (choose one:)

                        ( ) with the Mother

                        ( ) with the Father

                        ( ) Joint

            B.  Primary Physical Custodian

            For each of the children named below the primary physical custodian shall be:

d/o/b: 

( ) Mother

( ) Father

( ) Joint

d/o/b: 

( ) Mother

( ) Father

( ) Joint

d/o/b: 

( ) Mother

( ) Father

( ) Joint

d/o/b: 

( ) Mother

( ) Father

( ) Joint

d/o/b: 

( ) Mother

( ) Father

( ) Joint

FOR THOSE PARENTS CHOOSING JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY, A DETAILED PLAN OF THE LIVING ARRANGEMENTS OF THE CHILD(REN) MUST BE ATTACHED AND MADE A PART OF THIS PARENTING PLAN. 

            C.  Day-To-Day Decisions

Each parent shall make decisions regarding the day-to-day care of a child while the child is residing with that parent, including any emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of a child.

D.  Major Decisions

Major decisions regarding each child shall be made as follows:

            

Educational decisions

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

Non-emergency health care

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

Religious upbringing

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

Extracurricular activities

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

_____________________

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

_____________________

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) joint

E.  Disagreements

Where parents have elected joint decision making in Section II. B. above, please explain how any disagreements in decisions making will be resolved (e.g., correspondence, telephone conversations, third party tiebreaker vote, mediation, etc.):  __________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

II.  Parenting and Visitation Schedule

A.     Residential Time With Each Parent

            The Custodial Parent(s) (is)(are): ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________

Under the schedule set forth below, each parent will have parenting time with the child(ren) in the approximate percentages stated below:

Mother: _____________ %

Father: _____________ %

B.     The Parents Agree to the Following (check all that apply):

( ) The parents shall make genuine efforts to refrain from arguments concerning visitations.  Such arguments undermine the parents’ relationship with the child and burden the child with the guilt of responsibility for such friction.  The parents shall endeavor to cooperate with the child with the goal of reducing the strife and confusion surrounding the child when parents have elected to divorce.  It is beneficial that the child experience affectionate care from both parents, and both of the parties hereto acknowledge that visitation exists primarily for the benefit of the child.

( ) Both parties shall be diligent in having the child ready with the necessary belongings and available at the appointed times and the transporting party shall be prompt in picking up and delivering the child, provided, however, that the transporting parent for visitation shall have a grace period of fifteen (15) minutes for pick-up and delivery if both parties live within a distance of fifty (50) miles from each other.  If the one way distance to be traveled is in excess of one hundred (100) miles, the grace period shall be thirty (30) minutes.  In the event the visiting parent exceeds the grace period, the visitation for that weekend is forfeited unless prior notification and arrangements have been made and except in cases where the visiting parent suffers an unavoidable breakdown or delay en route and the visiting parent promptly notifies the custodial parent by phone of the delay.  Repeated violations by either parent shall be cause for granting a modification of the custody order either by changing custody or curtailing visitation, as the case may be.

( )  In the event that the child develops a serious illness or injury while visiting with one parent, that parent shall promptly inform the other parent of the child’s condition.  Elective surgery shall be performed on the child only after both parents have consented to the same.  Emergency surgery necessary for the preservation of life or to prevent a further serious injury or condition may be performed without the other parent’s consent, provided, however, that if time permits, the other parent shall be consulted and, in any event, he or she shall be informed as soon as possible.

( ) Neither party shall have his or her girlfriend, boyfriend, or other overnight date who is unrelated by blood or marriage spend the night when the child is in his or her custody.

( ) If either parent decides to relocate more than ____ miles away from the other parent’s home, the moving parent will give the other parent written notice of the intent to relocate no less than (choose one) [30 days / 60 days / 90 days / six months ] prior to the date of moving.

( ) Neither party shall consume alcohol or illegal drugs and then operate a motor vehicle when the child is in his or her custody.

( ) The parent in possession of the minor child(ren) will be responsible for supervising and assisting in any schoolwork immediately due and for any activity scheduled for the child.  The parents agree to give each other reasonable notice of any activities scheduled during the other parent’s possession of the child(ren).

C.     Visitation

During the term of this parenting plan the non-custodial parent shall have at a minimum the following rights of visitation (choose an item):

( )  The first and third weekend of each month.

( )  The first, third, and fifth weekend of each month.

( )  The second and fourth weekend of each month.

( )  Every other weekend starting on __________.

( )  Each _________ starting at _________a.m./p.m. and ending __________ a.m./p.m.

( ) Other:  ______________________________________________________

( ) and weekday visitation on (choose an item):

            ( ) None

            ( ) Every Wednesday Evening

            ( ) Every other Wednesday during the week prior to a non-visitation weekend.

            ( ) Every ___________________ and _____________ evening.

            ( ) Other:   ______________________________________________

For purposes of this parenting plan, a weekend will start at ______ a.m./p.m. on [Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Other: _____________ ] and end at _______ a.m./p.m. on [Sunday / Monday / Other: _________________ ].

Weekday visitation will begin at _____ a.m./p.m. and will end [ 7:00 p.m. / 8:00 p.m. / when the child(ren) return(s) to school or day care the next morning / Other:________ ].

This parenting schedule begins:

( ) ____________________    OR      ( ) date of the Court’s Order

    (day and time)

D.     Holiday Schedule (if applicable) and Other School Free Days (

Attach

School

or District Schedule)

Indicate if child(ren) will be with the parent in ODD or EVEN numbered years or indicate EVERY year:

MOTHER

FATHER

Martin Luther King Day

_________________

__________________

Presidents’ Day

_________________

__________________

Mother’s Day

_________________

__________________

Memorial Day

_________________

__________________

Father’s Day

_________________

__________________

July Fourth

_________________

__________________

Labor Day

_________________

__________________

Halloween

_________________

__________________

Thanksgiving Day & Friday

_________________

__________________

Child(ren)’s Birthday(s)

_________________

__________________

Other School Free Days

_________________

__________________

Mother’s Birthday

_________________

__________________

Father’s Birthday

_________________

__________________

Religious Holidays: ________________

_________________

__________________

Other: ________________

_________________

__________________

Other: ________________

_________________

__________________

Other: ________________

_________________

__________________

If there is a conflict between the regular visitation schedule and the holiday schedule, the holiday schedule will prevail.

For the purposes of this parenting plan, the holiday will start and end as follows (choose one):

( ) Holidays that fall on Friday will include the following Saturday and Sunday

( ) Holidays that fall on Monday will include the preceding Saturday and Sunday

( ) Other: _______________________________________________________

E.     Fall Vacation (if applicable) (Define)

The day to day schedule shall apply except as follows: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ beginning _____________________.

F.      Winter Vacation

The ( ) mother ( ) father shall have the child(ren) for the first period from the day and time school is dismissed until December _____ at ________ a.m./p.m. in ( ) odd numbered years ( ) even numbered years ( ) every year.  The other parent will have the child(ren) for the second period from the day and time indicated above until 6:00 p.m. on the evening before school resumes.  Unless otherwise indicated, the parties shall alternate the first and second periods each year.

Other agreement of the parents: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

G.    Spring Vacation (if applicable) (Define)

The day to day schedule shall apply except as follows:  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ beginning _____________________.

H.  Other extended periods of time during school, etc. (refer to the school schedule)

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

I. Summer Vacation (Define)

The day to day schedule shall apply except as follows:  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ beginning _____________________.

When holiday visitation conflicts with extended/summer visitation the (choose one):

( ) holiday schedule will be observed

( ) extended visitation will be uninterrupted

( ) other: ______________________________________________

J.      Transportation Arrangements

For visitation, the place of meeting for the exchange of the child(ren) shall be:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

The [ parent taking possession of the child / Mother / Father ] will be responsible for transportation of the child at the beginning of visitation.

The [ parent taking possession of the child / Mother / Father ] will be responsible for transportation of the child at the conclusion of visitation.

Payment of long distance transportation costs (if applicable) will be paid by:

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) both equally

Define  “long distance” for purposes of transportation: _____________.

Other arrangements: _________________________________________.

If a parent does not possess a valid driver’s license, he or she must make reasonable transportation arrangements to protect the child or children while in the care of that parent.

K.     Changes and Cancellations (please check if applicable):

( ) If the parents cannot agree on a requested change in the visitation schedule, the parents agree to seek voluntary mediation to resolve the differences prior to filing a modification with the Court.  If mediation is requested, the cost of mediation will be paid by (choose one) [the party requesting the change / both parties equally / other: ___________ ].

L.      Telephone Access

The parents agree that when the child or children reside with one, the other parent will have the right to unimpeded telephone conversations with the child or children as follows (check all that apply):

( ) Unrestricted telephone access to the child(ren) during reasonable hours and of reasonable duration.

( ) _________ telephone calls to the child(ren) per week with the duration of each call not to exceed __________ minutes.

( ) The child(ren) are allowed to call either parent at any time.

( ) Neither parent will monitor the telephone conversations their child(ren) have with the other parent.

( ) Neither parent will use the child(ren) to communicate messages to the other parent.

Other provisions for telephone access: 

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

M.    Supervision of Parenting Time (if applicable)

(  )  Check here if Applicable

Supervised parenting time shall apply during the day-to-day schedule as follows:

Place: _______________________________________________________

Person/Organization supervising: _________________________________

Responsibility for cost: 

( ) mother

( ) father

( ) both equally

N.     Conduct and Communication Provisions

Please check all that apply:

( ) Each parent shall promptly notify the other parent of a change of address, phone number or cell phone number so that the other parent may exercise visitation, notify the other parent, and reach the child(ren) while in the other parent’s possession.  (Please see relocation provision in Section II. B. above pertaining to moves of greater distances).

( ) The child(ren) will not be left alone until the age of ______.

( ) Neither parent will

            ( ) Discuss past, present or future litigation with the child(ren);

( ) Complain about, criticize, or blame the other parent in the presence of the child(ren) and shall instruct others to refrain from such conduct in the presence of the child(ren);

( ) Accuse the other parent of being at fault in the presence of the child(ren);

( ) Use the child(ren) as “bargaining chips” to influence the actions of the other parent;

( ) Make negative, critical or hurtful comments about the other party’s family members in the presence of the minor children; and

( ) Use profanity in any conversation with the other parent in the child(ren)’s presence or go into the other parent’s home without consent.

III.                Access to Records

A.     Rights of the Parents

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-9-1 (b) (1) (D), both parents are entitled to access to all of the child(ren)’s records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.  Designation as a non-custodial parent does not affect a parent’s right to equal access to these records.  However, the parties may agree to limitations on access to records.

Please list any agreed to limitations on access rights:  ___________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

B.  School Records Access / Communication Provisions (check all that apply):

( ) The parents shall take the necessary action with school authorities of the schools in which the children are enrolled to:

A.     List both parents as a parent of the child(ren);

B.     Authorize the school to release to both parents any and all information concerning the child(ren);

C.     Ensure that both parents receive copies of any notices regarding the child(ren).

( ) Each parent will be entitled to complete, detailed information or reports from any teacher or school pertaining to the child(ren), their schoolwork, their educational needs, their conduct, or opportunities available to the child(ren).

( ) Each parent shall promptly transmit to the other parent any information received concerning parent schedules and any other school activities in which the child(ren) may be engaged or interested.

( ) Each parent shall promptly after receipt, furnish the other parent a photocopy of the child(ren)’s grade reports and copies of any other reports concerning the child(ren)’s status or progress.

( ) Each parent shall, when possible, arrange appointments for parent – teacher conferences at a time when the other parent can be present and, whenever possible, they shall be attended by both parents.

IV.  Modification of Plan or Disagreements

Parties may, by mutual agreement, vary the parenting time/visitation; however, such agreement shall not be a binding court order.  Custody shall only be modified by court order.

Should the parents disagree about this parenting plan or wish to modify it, they must make a good faith effort to resolve the issue between them.  Possible channels for resolution of disputes include mediation, arbitration, or the Court.   Please indicate below your preferred method of dispute resolution. 

( ) Mediation by a neutral party chosen by the parents or the Court.

( ) Arbitration by a neutral party selected by parents or the Court.

( ) The Court due to order of protection or restrictions.

( ) Other:  ____________________________________________________________

The costs of this process may be determined by the alternative dispute process or may be assessed by the Court based upon the incomes of the parents.  It must be commenced by notifying the other parent and the Court by ( ) written request ( ) certified mail ( ) other: _______________.

In the dispute resolution process:

  1. Preference shall be given to carrying out this parenting plan.
  2. The parents shall use the process to resolve disputes relating to implementation of the Plan.
  3. A written record shall be prepared of any agreement reached, and it shall be provided to each parent.
  4. If the Court finds that a parent willfully failed to appear without good reason, the Court, upon motion, may award attorney fees and financial sanctions to the prevailing parent.

V.  Special Considerations

Please attach an addendum detailing any special circumstances of which the Court should be aware (e.g., health issues, educational issues, etc.)   

VI.  Parents’ Consent

Please review the following and initial:

  1. We recognize that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life is in the child’s best interest.

Mother’s Initials:  ___________    Father’s Initials: ____________

  1. We recognize that our child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures;  we have made a good faith effort to take these changing needs into account so that the need for  future modifications to the parenting plan are minimized.

Mother’s Initials: ____________   Father’s Initials: ____________

  1. We recognize that the parent with physical custody will make the day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent (see Section I. C. above).

Mother’s Initials: __________       Father’s Initials: _____________

We knowingly and voluntarily agree on the terms of this Permanent Parenting Plan Order.  Each of us affirms that the information we have provided in this Plan is true and correct.

______________________________            _______________________________

Father’s Signature                                           Mother’s Signature

ORDER

The Court has reviewed the foregoing Permanent Parenting Plan Order, and it is hereby made the order of this Court.