2016 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 9 - Child Custody Proceedings
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 19-9-1. Parenting plans; requirements for plan
(a) Except when a parent seeks emergency relief for family violence pursuant to Code Section 19-13-3 or 19-13-4, in all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, each parent shall prepare a parenting plan or the parties may jointly submit a parenting plan. It shall be in the court's discretion as to when a party shall be required to submit a parenting plan to the court. A parenting plan shall be required for permanent custody and modification actions and in the court's discretion may be required for temporary hearings. The final order in any legal action involving the custody of a child, including modification actions, shall incorporate a permanent parenting plan as further set forth in this Code section; provided, however, that unless otherwise ordered by the court, a separate court order exclusively devoted to a parenting plan shall not be required.
(b) (1) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a parenting plan shall include the following:
(A) A recognition that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child's life will be in the child's best interest;
(B) A recognition that the child's needs will change and grow as the child matures and demonstrate that the parents will make an effort to parent that takes this issue into account so that future modifications to the parenting plan are minimized;
(C) A recognition that a parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent; and
(D) That both parents will have access to all of the child's records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, health insurance, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.
(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, or agreed upon by the parties, a parenting plan shall include, but not be limited to:
(A) Where and when a child will be in each parent's physical care, designating where the child will spend each day of the year;
(B) How holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent with each parent including the time of day that each event will begin and end;
(C) Transportation arrangements including how the child will be exchanged between the parents, the location of the exchange, how the transportation costs will be paid, and any other matter relating to the child spending time with each parent;
(D) Whether supervision will be needed for any parenting time and, if so, the particulars of the supervision;
(E) An allocation of decision-making authority to one or both of the parents with regard to the child's education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing, and if the parents agree the matters should be jointly decided, how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree on resolution;
(F) What, if any, limitations will exist while one parent has physical custody of the child in terms of the other parent contacting the child and the other parent's right to access education, health, extracurricular activity, and religious information regarding the child; and
(G) If a military parent is a party in the case:
(i) How to manage the child's transition into temporary physical custody to a nondeploying parent if a military parent is deployed;
(ii) The manner in which the child will maintain continuing contact with a deployed parent;
(iii) How a deployed parent's parenting time may be delegated to his or her extended family;
(iv) How the parenting plan will be resumed once the deployed parent returns from deployment; and
(v) How divisions (i) through (iv) of this subparagraph serve the best interest of the child.
(c) If the parties cannot reach agreement on a permanent parenting plan, each party shall file and serve a proposed parenting plan on or before the date set by the court. Failure to comply with filing a parenting plan may result in the court adopting the plan of the opposing party if the judge finds such plan to be in the best interests of the child.
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