Creating a Parenting Plan in VA

Cropped close up of a boy and mother holding hands

Creating a parenting plan during a divorce has numerous benefits for you, your ex-spouse, and, most importantly, your children. The goal of a parenting plan is to eliminate any confusion and future litigation down the road. Accomplishing this requires both parties to set aside their differences and act in the best interests of their children.

In some situations, that may not be possible or wise to do on your own. DiPietro Law Group can handle these negotiations for you. Our family law attorneys have experience negotiating parenting plans in Virginia. Here is what you need to know about parenting plans and what to include in yours.

What Is a Virginia Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a document that outlines the future care of your children. An effective plan will address immediate issues and create a framework for resolving future problems that may arise.

Virginia law does not require a parenting plan, but without one, a judge will make the decisions concerning your child. In most divorce cases, the parents should make these decisions together.

Custody and Visitation in Virginia

Custody is complex, as Virginia recognizes joint and sole custody. The custodial parent has physical and legal control over the children, so they will make certain decisions concerning the health and welfare of the children.

Visitation determines the amount of time the children will spend with the noncustodial parent if one parent has sole custody or the amount of time the children spend with each parent if they share joint custody. Establishing this schedule to avoid conflict and provide the children consistency is vital.

Vacation, Holidays, and Special Events Schedule

Every parent wants to spend special days with their children. In working on a parenting plan that accounts for these days, keeping two purposes at the forefront of your consideration is essential:

1. The best interest of your children

2. An equitable distribution of dates between you and your ex-spouse

The most equitable solution is often to rotate these special events between the parents. For example, divide these events fairly in the first year and then swap them yearly. If that plan is also in the child's best interest, this works well. However, the most equitable formula is not always in the children's best interest. In these situations, negotiating a reasonable agreement is critical, and a Virginia divorce lawyer can help.

Financial Responsibilities

An effective parenting plan should identify each parent's financial responsibility for the children. The financial requirements will likely change as time passes, and the parenting plan should anticipate these changes where possible.


A parenting plan must retain flexibility for the evolving social and economic needs of the children. It is not possible to predict all of the changes on the horizon. Your flexible parenting plan should include mechanisms to resolve unforeseen issues amicably and without the necessity of judicial involvement.

Contact Our Virginia Parenting Plan Attorneys Today

If you are going through a divorce, we can help you craft and negotiate a parenting plan that represents your best interests and those of your children. Contact our parenting plan attorneys at DiPietro Law Group at 888-530-4374 to schedule your consultation.

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