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You and Your Ex Should Formalize a Parenting Plan, Even If You Were Never Legally Married

July 19, 2020

If you and your partner have a child together, you are a family, whether or not you are legally married. Your partner’s parents are your child’s grandparents. There is a third person who shares all the things you and your partner have in common. Parenting with a marriage contract is very similar to parenting without a marriage contract, at least until you break up. The family courts in Pennsylvania use parenting plans and child support orders to ensure that children continue to have a relationship with both parents and continue to receive financial support from both parents. Parenting plans and child support orders are available to unmarried couples who have children together. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help you formalize a parenting plan with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.

Parenting Plans Are Meant to Help Both Parents

If you and your partner break up after you have a child together, you might have the best intentions of cooperating to raise your child. Your ex might give you money to help with the child’s expenses; he might even visit the child every weekend. What happens when you run into conflict, though? Whether or not co-parents were ever married to each other has no bearing on how much conflict they will have about co-parenting. What happens if you have just paid a deposit to send your child to a summer camp, but your ex tells you that he has just bought a plane ticket to take your child to visit your ex’s parents for most of the summer? What happens if your ex wants to move out of Pennsylvania with her new fiancé, taking the child with her? What happens if your ex keeps making excuses about why you can’t pick up the children for the weekend?

Parenting plans are legally enforceable agreements about which parent is with the children when. They include provisions about transportation, holiday parenting schedules, and even about which parent has the final decision about the children’s education and healthcare. They don’t discuss finances, but most former couples have both a parenting plan and a child support order.

Your Rights and Obligations as a Parent

You have the right to receive child support whether or not you and your ex were married. The court calculates child support based on each parent’s income, as well as each parent’s share of parenting time. If you pay child support, you are entitled to parenting time. Conversely, if you have parenting time, then the child support rules apply to you. It is better to formalize a parenting plan than simply to hope for the best that your ex will help financially support your child or that your ex will encourage your child to have a relationship with you.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Parents Exercise Their Parenting Time

Even if you have not been able to be in your child’s life consistently thus far, it is not too late to formalize a parenting plan. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA for help resolving co-parenting disputes. 🡺 412-419-3448