Creating a parenting plan is often a vital step in Tulsa, Oklahoma divorces that involve minor children.
Usually, one or both parents request joint custody when there are children involved in a divorce. Courts try to ensure that parents work together through their divorce to make the process as easy as possible for their children.
What is a Parenting Plan?
If one or both parents request joint or shared custody, Oklahoma law requires the parents to submit a parenting plan to the court. The parents can work together to submit one plan, or they may each submit a plan. The purpose of the plan is to work out how the parents will care for their children despite their imminent divorce.
The plan must cover:
- where the children will live and when (a parenting schedule);
- the handling of medical and dental insurance and care;
- how child support will be handled;
- the visitation schedule;
- where the children will go to school; and
- information regarding the logistics of the children’s extracurricular activities (such as transportation and financial responsibility).
A family court judge reviews the plan and makes decisions based upon what he or she deems to be in the best interests of the children. The court can make changes to the submitted plan. A judge can also decide that joint custody is not in the best interests of the children.
Court Considerations Regarding the Plan and Custody
Courts encourage both parents to be an active part of their children’s lives. That means sharing the responsibility for child rearing if at all possible.
When awarding custody, the court will consider which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent.
The Parenting Plan Conference
Both parents are required to attend a Parenting Plan Conference (PPC) as part of a divorce involving minor children.
The Parenting Plan Conference usually occurs at the early stages of divorce in order to allow the parties access to a forum in which temporary orders can be determined early in the process.
The purpose of the PPC is to:
- ensure that parents properly and fairly plan their parenting time with their children;
- compute child support; and
- determine if other temporary orders are needed.
The conference takes place before a court referee. Parents are encouraged to agree on a plan at the PPC. If they are unable to agree, the court will schedule a hearing.
In Tulsa County, divorcing parents are also required to attend a Helping Children Cope with Divorce class. The class is helpful for parents seeking to understand how separation and divorce may affect their children and how to help their children cope.
In addition, parents attending the class will learn about:
- facilitating visitation;
- managing conflict;
- using effective parenting skills during this difficult time;
- assessing a child’s ability to cope;
- determining if a child is having trouble coping with the divorce or other life issues;
- coping with financial obligations;
- smoothing the transition for their children;
- understanding a child’s typical reactions to this stressful situation; and
- talking to children about divorce and the end of relationships.
Courts want parents to work together as much as possible to make the transition easier for their children.
If you need or want help in understanding how this process will work in your particular situation, do not hesitate to bring your questions and concerns to an experienced Tulsa family law attorney.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Family Law Attorney
Wirth Law Office – Tulsa is here to help when you need it most. We offer a free consultation with an experienced Tulsa family law attorney.
Call 918-879-1681 for a free consultation or submit a question through this website.