Why Do We Need a Parenting Plan?
By Zachary Mushkatel on April 1, 2013
Couples who are in the divorce process in Arizona and who have children under age 18 should create a written “parenting plan” for several reasons. Parenting plans spell out important details, such as which parent will take care of the child at which times and which parent will have legal custody. If you need help creating a parent plan or dealing with other custody and support issues, the experienced Phoenix family law attorneys at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, can help.
Arizona parenting plans fulfill several functions:
- Encouraging cooperation. Arizona courts prefer that parenting plans are made and agreed upon by the parents. With a parenting plan in writing, both parents know what the “ground rules” are for raising their children. These “ground rules” can cover everything from schedules and household rules to religious upbringing, school plans, medical care, and more.
- Focusing on the child. Parenting plans encourage the parents to focus on the needs and interests of each of their children. While parents often have their own feelings to work out about one another during divorce, children do best when they know that both parents have their best interests in mind – even if the parents have unresolved issues with one another.
- Clarifying obligations. Parenting plans in Arizona help clarify both physical and legal custody issues. “Physical custody” refers to where the child lives and which parent is responsible for the child’s immediate needs, like food, shelter, and medical care, at any given time. “Legal custody” refers to which parent has the responsibility for making major decisions for their child. Parents may share custody or appoint custody to one parent, and this arrangement is reinforced by the parenting time agreement.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.