Many people start their thinking about a parenting plan by focusing on custody labels. While this is still an option, under the new parenting plan laws, the actual labels do not matter as much as they once did. Nevertheless, it is helpful to have a general understanding of the labels since it is likely they will be used in your final papers. For more information on custody issues, click here.
Legal Custody: Legal custody relates to the right to make major child raising decisions, such as where the children will go to school, their religious upbringing and their healthcare. In most cases, parents share joint legal custody meaning that they are expected to make these decisions together.
Physical custody: Physical custody primarily relates to the daily care of the children, including where they will spend their time. As a general rule, we think of sole physical custody as a situation in which the children spend most of their time in one home and have “parenting time” (formerly visitation) in the other home. Joint physical custody generally implies a situation in which the children spend nearly equal time in both homes. While this is the general understanding of how joint physical custody and sole physical custody differ, the law is not clear regarding how much parenting time the primary parent must have in order for the schedule to be called sole physical custody.
Parenting Plans: In addition, where the custody label once had a significant impact on things like child support and the right to move the children, the label has little, if any impact on those issues under current laws. Therefore, parents are, for the most part, able to disregard these labels and can focus on creating a parenting plan. To download samples of two types of parenting plans used in Minnesota, click on the forms below.
Download a Parenting Plan Worksheet
Download a Collaborative Team Parenting Plan