Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Meeting a Utah child's needs through a parenting plan

There is no more meaningful relationship for Salt Lake City residents than a parent's relationship with children. The parent-child relationship is not only valued by residents of the state, but also under the letter of the law as well.

Recently, this blog has discussed how child custody disputes can arise between parents over any number of matters, including the most sensitive of topics about the child's upbringing. In order to minimize these disputes, it is essential to have a properly drafted child custody order that takes into consideration the different issues that are at stake.

However, a parenting plan has many different objectives beyond simply minimizing disputes. First, a parenting plan is designed to provide for the child's physical care and emotional stability. The plan should also provide for the child's needs, which change as the child grows older and matures. As with most issues involving child custody, the ultimate goal of the parenting plan is to protect the best interests of the child.

The plan should also foster the parents' relationship with the children. For instance, a key goal of the plan is to establish the authority and responsibilities of each parent. The plan should also encourage the parents to meet their responsibilities by agreement, instead of through the courts, to the extent that is possible.

There should be provisions in the plan for dispute resolution between parents, which might include counseling, mediation or arbitration and court action. Accordingly, when disputes arise, whether over decision-making, visitation or some other issue, the parents can then follow this dispute resolution process to attempt to resolve the matter and move forward.

Source: Utah State Legislature, "Parenting plan - objectives - required provisions - dispute resolution," accessed on Sept. 10, 2016

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