Hawaii courts require a parenting plan as part of any child custody settlement. A parenting plan is creating clear expectations, rights and roles of each parent for the children as well as clarifying the process for dealing with disagreements.
There are a few things to consider as you draft your parenting plan.
Start with custody determinations
Detail the custody arrangement, whether you want joint legal and physical custody or sole custody with visitation rights. Detail the agreement with an explanation of the decision. The court wants to see custody agreements that focus on the child’s best interests, not the disagreements between the parents.
Establish the visitation schedule
When one parent receives visitation, the parenting plan includes that schedule. You may want a broad schedule that says the parent receives a certain number of visitation days per week or per month. This gives you the flexibility to adapt to both parents’ schedules and the child’s school or extracurricular needs. Alternatively, a detailed visitation schedule eliminates any confusion or uncertainty if necessary. Specify holiday time-sharing and consider the first right of refusal as well. That allows the other parent time with the child instead of hiring a babysitter.
Include dispute resolution
When the parents disagree on a decision for the child, clear dispute resolution procedures help prevent conflict. Explain how disputes are resolved with a focus on the child’s best interests.
A comprehensive parenting plan shows the court that you and your spouse will put your children’s needs first and foster relationships with both parents.