What Is the Role of a Parenting Plan in a Kansas Child Custody Case?

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Complex state laws govern child custody matters in the State of Kansas. Among those laws are requirements relating to inclusion of a parenting plan in a Kansas child custody case as part of the court’s custody order.

Generally, the parents develop and agree to a parenting plan and submit it for approval of the court. The judge reviews the plan to ensure that the plan is in the “best interests of the child.” The court has authority to change the plan or create a different plan, if the judge finds that the agreed plan is not in the child’s best interests.

Temporary and Permanent Parenting Plans

Kansas law provides for two different types of parenting plans, temporary parenting plans and permanent parenting plans. A temporary plan accompanies a temporary custody order. A permanent plan is part of a permanent custody order.

Both types of plans address matters of legal custody, residency of the child, parenting time, and other issues relating to the child’s care. Legal custody is defined (in Kan. Stat. Ann. § 23-3211) as the allocation of parenting responsibilities between parents, including decision-making rights and responsibilities on matters relating to the child’s health, education, and welfare.

The statutory provisions for each type of plan are very specific about what must be included in the plan.

Temporary Parenting Plans

A temporary plan remains in effect until the court enters a final custody order in the custody case. The statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 23-3212, states that a temporary parenting plan entered as part of a temporary custody order may include any of the following provisions:

  • Temporary legal custody of the child
  • Temporary residence of the child
  • Assignment of parental rights and duties relating to the child’s health, education, and welfare
  • A parenting time schedule

The section also provides that a parent seeking temporary custody order must prepare and submit a proposed plan with the request for the temporary order. The other parent may submit a responsive proposed plan.

Permanent Parenting Plans

The statutory provisions for permanent parenting plans are more complex than those relating to temporary plans. A specific section, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 23-3213, states that the objectives for the permanent parenting plan include:

  • Establishing the proper allocation of parental rights and responsibilities
  • Establishing a working relationship for the parents on matters relating to the child’s health, education, and welfare
  • Providing for the child’s physical care and emotional stability
  • Setting a schedule of parenting time
  • Providing for the changing needs of the child over time, in a way that minimizes the need for modifying the plan
  • Minimizing exposure of the child to harmful parental conflict
  • Encouraging the parents to meet their duties through agreements in the plan, rather than by judicial intervention
  • Protecting the child’s best interests as appropriate

The statute provides a permanent parenting plan must at least include:

  • Designation of the child’s legal custody
  • A schedule for parenting time of each parent
  • A procedure for resolving disputes without court intervention

The law allows parents to develop a more detailed agreement on an informal basis. Additional details about provisions that may be included in a permanent parenting plan are included in the statute.

Development of a Parenting Plan

The goal of the plan is to protect the best interests of the child. Since parents know the child better than anyone does, they are in the best position to know the child’s needs.

The approach to developing a parenting plan often depends on the specific family circumstances. Often, parents require assistance of a mediator or experienced family law attorney to reach agreement and ensure the plan includes all the required and desired provisions.

After parents agree to a plan, the judge reviews the proposed plan to make certain it addresses the child’s best interests. The court has authority to approve the plan, modify it, or ask the parents to develop a different plan. Representation by a knowledgeable child custody attorney is the best way for a parent to protect a child’s interests when navigating through a parenting plan or any other custody matter before a court.

Talk With Our Experienced Salina, Kansas Child Custody Attorneys

If you face any issue involving child custody — or if you need assistance with any type of domestic or family law issue — our respected Salina, Kansas domestic and family law attorneys at Hampton & Royce, L.C. are here to help. For parents or other attorneys interested in mediation services for family law issues, we also have the experience and expertise to facilitate resolution of domestic matters privately.

We serve clients throughout the State of Kansas. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Family Law