Posted on September 21, 2022
happy kids swimming

A divorcing client came into my Brentwood, TN office today and showed me a draft of a Parenting Plan from his divorce attorney.  The following items were incorrect and are frequently wrong in the Parenting Plans I review for clients.

1.  The child support calculation did not include the correct income for both parents, the monthly cost for health insurance paid by the mother or the monthly child care paid by the mother.  The child support calcualtion by the attorney was $1,562 per month.  The correct child support calculation should be $1,123.  That is a mitake of $439 per month and $5,268 per year.  This was not a minor mistake.

2. The Parenting Plan did not mention how the expense for the children's extracurricular activities, lessons and camps would be divided.  Because these expenses are not part of child support, it is essential the parents discuss and agree how these expenses will be paid as part of negotiations.  Otherwise, future conflict is likely.

3. The child support payment was to be paid directly to the other parent rather than being paid by EFT bank draft to the other parent.  To avoid conflict, the child support payments should always be paid by EFT bank draft.  Then, no one has to worry about receiveing a check on a specific day or, having a check clear.  With hectic lives post divorce, it is easy for an overwhelmed parent to forget to pay the child support.  Setting up an automatic monthly payment is suggested to minimize conflict and future attorney fees.

4.  The parenting plan listed the wrong date for the child support payments to begin.  This is a detail that needs to be right.

5. The Parenting Plan did not correctly assign the child tax credits to the parents.  Again, this will likely lead to future conflict as parents make incorrect assumptions when they are completeing their tax returns.

As a divorced person, I have lived a parenting plan and know what details need to be in black and white.  I encourage you to carefully review your Parenting Plan before you sign off.  This will allow your kids to be kids and enjoy their summer at the swim club because the parents divorce settlement was clear on who would be paying for the summer membership.