Oregon law requires written parenting plans detailing parenting time, although the level of detail in the plans is largely left up to the parents and the Court. At a minimum, the parenting plan must detail how much time the children will spend with each parent. Detailed plans for parenting time includes the following:
- Residential schedule;
- Holiday, birthday and vacation planning;
- Weekends, including holidays, and school in-service days preceding or following weekends;
- Decision-making and responsibility;
- Information sharing and access;
- Relocation of parents;
- Telephone access;
- Transportation; and
- Methods for resolving disputes.
Oregon Parenting Plan Templates and Worksheets
When a separation begins to escalate into a divorce, there must be certain things in order. Feelings of heartbreak and frustration have their time and place. Child custody is a very important situation that requires a lot of attention and focus. For many, it’s a new and confusing experience. Fortunately, there are guides available online that help the process easier to understand. There are also parenting plan templates available to peruse and print out. Not every case is the same. Perhaps some parents will be living some distance apart. These situations require a different parenting plan. If the parents live more than 60 miles apart, then a medium/long distance parenting plan must be used.
Put the Children First
Before getting carried away with who gets the television and the car, think of the children. Work together to come up with a co-parenting schedule that will follow the child or children’s schedule. Think of their school schedules and extracurricular activities. The age of the children is also a factor to consider. Children in elementary and middle school must be driven. Older children could have more extracurricular activities. In order to begin the parenting plan, it could help to look at just one week of family life. What goes on? How busy are the weekdays and weeknights? Are weekends usually free? Work to use this as a foundation to picture how the long term parenting plan should look like. However, there are also vacations and holidays to consider. These sorts of things won’t follow the same weeknights/weekends schedule, and must be thought about.
Short Distance Parenting Plans vs. Long Distance Parenting Plans
Living in the same town or close to an ex-spouse can be uncomfortable. It’s not a pleasant experience to run into them during a routine grocery store run. Shared friends are now put in an awkward position. But there are also benefits to living a short distance from an ex-spouses. Letting the children have dinner with either parent on a weeknight is possible. They can even be home in time to finish their homework and be in bed by a reasonable time. Children whose parents live more than an hour apart will have more struggles. The time spent traveling, time spent away from familiar surroundings, as well as the struggles they will have with separated parents will do them no favors. But long distance can ensure a sense of safety and security. Distance from an ex-spouse can allow for better space to heal. For children as well as parents. It offers a chance to move on without the geographical closeness of an ex-spouse. With technology, it is easier than ever to remain in contact with children even if they aren’t nearby.
Parenting plans are something into which a lot of thought should be put. Create a new schedule for them, and make sure it is stuck with. Children may insist they are strong, but they are still fragile as they grow towards adulthood. It’s best to make the transition as easy as possible for them, with few unnecessary changes.
More Oregon Parenting Time and Visitation Resources
The Oregon Judicial Department offers Parenting Plan Guides and Forms. Also, the Oregon Department of Justice’s Oregon Child Support Program has a Parenting Time Calculator which can help determine the number of overnights, and how they will affect the Child Support Guidelines Calculator.