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What is a parenting plan?

A Parenting Plan is a court order that restrains in advance the times, the places, and the manner in which a parent and child may associate with one another for purposes of speaking with one another, worshiping with one another as a family, and sharing family privacy with one another.

Parenting Plans also typically deprive the parents of constitutional protections for their privacy rights in terms of making otherwise lawful parenting choices for their child. Once these fundamental rights are stripped from the parents by unchallengeable fiat, the State then “grants” these rights back to the parents in whichever manner a sole government official’s viewpoint regarding matters of conscience in child-rearing dictates.

State family codes universally grant sole government officials broad discretion to impose prior restraints on First Amendment protected close family intimate and expressive associations based on that official’s sole viewpoint of what is “best” for a child. Ironically, in every single case, this sole government official finds it in the child’s best interest to irreparably injure the child by stripping the child of First Amendment guarantees through these prior restraints.

The State’s asserted interest to impose these prior restraints is this official’s sole viewpoint regarding the child’s best interest. In an appeal from a child custody modification case where the issue of viewpoint discrimination was never raised, the Supreme Court has held the State’s interest in protecting the child’s best interests to be merely a “substantial” state interest which ironically is NEVER sufficient justification to issue prior restraints.

The bar to issue prior restraints is so high that the Supreme Court has never, to our knowledge, permitted a prior restraint to stand where justified by viewpoint discrimination. Yet, parenting plans are undeniably examples of viewpoint discrimination based on differences of opinion regarding matters of conscience in child-rearing between parents and a sole government official.

In Troxel, the Supreme Court held that such disagreements are never sufficient to violate parental rights, but the Supreme Court’s biases in in family law caused it to fail to use the proper viewpoint discrimination terminology. The Supreme Court always comes to the constitutionally proper result but the Supreme Court hides what it is doing behind vague language and then surrounds that vague language with dicta expressing their personal biases regarding unmarried and divorced parents. There is no question about what the proper terminology is:

The term “prior restraint” is used to describe administrative and judicial orders forbidding certain communications when issued in advance of the time that such communications are to occur. Temporary restraining orders and permanent injunctions are classic examples of prior restraints. -United States Supreme Court 1993

Parenting plans are generally ordered by a court when the parents make marital choices the State disfavors. For instance, States claim that your failing to marry the child’s other parent subjects you to this type of prior restraint on your parental rights. States also claim that your choosing to divorce or even having a divorce forced on you against your will subjects you to this type of prior restraint on your parental rights. Given that choices regarding marriage are constitutionally protected privacy choices, States are forbidden from punishing parents for making these marital choices yet they don’t hesitate to blatantly discriminate based upon marital status in justifying their prior restraints.

State’s feel so utterly protected in family law that some states, such as Louisiana, literally terminate the parents’ rights upon divorce. If this is NOT a punishment for exercising a fundamental right then nothing is.

States get away with these blatant constitutional violations because parents and their attorneys permit the judges to hide what they are actually doing behind nice sounding labels like Parenting Plan, Parenting Time, and The Child’s Best Interest. If you want to protect your rights you must first demand, NOT ask, but demand that the court apply the appropriate language to what it is doing. You should use the proper terms in everything you file to make it extremely difficult for these judges to hide their violations of constitutional rights in absolute defiance of their Article VI oath to protect your rights.

States have been so effective in this area that entire generations of family law attorneys are blind to what is right before their eyes. When the subject is family law, entire generations of attorneys become universally blind. Help your attorney to see and demand that your attorney use the proper legal terms in the proper way.

While this definition may sound harsh, this definition represents the most basic aspects of law. If you can not express something in the most basic aspects of law, then it is most likely unlawful. If those in power seek to confuse the issues and refuse to discuss the legal issues in their most basic and elemental form, then those people in power are trying to pull something over on you. When expressed in basic elemental form, parenting plans as they currently exist are clearly unlawful, unconstitutional, and merely advisory opinions. The divorce and child custody courts are doing everything in their considerable power to hide this elemental fact from you so that they can keep performing the unlawful acts they have grown accustomed to performing and so that they don’t have to admit that they are wrong. This last is the biggest issue. These judges are desperate to keep you in the dark about what they are doing wrong. We, on the other hand, are shining a light directly onto the problem so that you can see it in the bright light that exposes it.

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