Parenting Plans in North Carolina

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”


Divorce can be a stressful time in your life and in the lives of your whole family. When parents end a marriage it can create a chaotic and difficult period of adjustment. In order to ensure that both parents spend time with their children they can agree to a parenting plan. A plan is the ideal way to handle the many issues that come up while parenting your child following a separation and divorce. It is usually best to consult with an experienced family law attorney to prepare a document that meets your needs and protects your rights.


walking-together-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Divorce-Lawyer-200x300What is a Parenting Plan?


A parenting plan is an agreement that documents the responsibilities and requirements of each parent after they divorce. The plan provides details that cover the many issues that parents encounter such as those that deal with visitation, child exchange, holidays and vacations, and communication between parents, among other things. There are several types of parenting or consent plans that you may use, depending on your specific needs.


  • Consent Agreement
  • Parenting Agreement
  • Custody Agreement


A consent order is an agreement between parents that provides details about parenting arrangements and may include child support payment information. The consent agreement becomes a consent order once the judge signs it. The parenting agreement is often utilized with assistance from a mediator or attorney and does not include child support. A custody agreement is a document that both parties agree to as part of a separation, prior to divorce. These types of agreements become part of a court order during finalization of the divorce and when the judge approves it.


What to Include in a Parenting Plan


Parenting plans must include basic information regarding both legal and physical child custody. Legal custody means which parent or parents are allowed to make important legal decisions on behalf of their child. Physical custody is where the child will reside. In addition to custody, other issues that you should include in the parenting plan are:


  • Visitation
  • Holidays
  • Vacations
  • Education
  • Medical
  • Religion
  • Communication


The more detailed your plan, the better. The plan is best when it includes how parents are to interact with each other and how to resolve minor matters of disagreement. You can also include how to handle situations that could occur in the future, such as if one parent wants to move out of the area. When a dispute arises, parents can turn to the document to guide through the resolution process.


It is important to note that the parenting plan is a document that parents can present to the court. The judge will review the plan and ensure that it provides adequate guidance for parents. Some factors that the court will use to evaluate the plan are the age of the child, the child’s established school, child’s health, and the relationship of the child and parent. In cases where the child is older, the court may take their wishes into consideration when determining such things as physical custody. The judge may also review the behavior of the parents, for instance any previous drug use or physical abuse against a spouse or child. The court will always ensure that the plan is in the best interest of the child.


Parenting plans can be complex and it is critical to review them for current and future issues. To learn more about parenting plans, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for an initial consultation. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.





Image Credit:



See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:



See Our Related Blog Posts:

Five Tips for Creating a Parenting Plan That Actually Works


Holiday Visitation: Time-Sharing and Parenting Plan in North Carolina

Contact Information