Creating a Parenting Plan When a Same-Sex Marriage Ends

In Minnesota, there are two ways for parents to handle custody and parenting time issues in a divorce. The first is to litigate the case, having your lawyer argue in your favor, but ultimately leaving the decisions up to the judge. The second is to create a parenting plan, also called a parenting agreement or a parenting contract, a deal negotiated between the parents that specifies how a wide variety of parenting issues will be handled.

When parents are opposite genders, a judge will often award primary custody to the mother and allow the father to have visitation on weekends, holidays and certain other times. When a same-sex couple is ending their marriage, however, a judge may have no idea what arrangement would work best for your family. Each family is different, and only you and your spouse know what is in the best interests of your children.

In these cases, we help parents work out a contract that meets their specific needs. Topics included in these agreements include:

  • Physical custody. Where will the child or children spend the majority of their time? Will they primarily stay with one parent, or will they switch back and forth regularly?
  • Legal custody. Are decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education and healthcare, left to one parent or made mutually by both parents?
  • Visitation. How will parenting time work? Is it supervised or unsupervised? How much time does the child spend with the noncustodial parent? Who does the driving? When and where will the child be picked up or brought back? Where does the child spend holidays?

Some parenting contracts also specify child support amounts, but decisions on this topic, as well as any agreements on issues of custody or visitation, must be approved by a judge before they become final.

If your marriage is coming to an end and you want to reach an optimal resolution to child custody issues, consult an experienced Minnesota child custody attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.

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