Some states encourage, or even require, parents of minor children to create and enter into a written Parenting Plan. This plan, which is based on the best interest of the children, would then be signed and filed with the court. A parenting plan usually includes a time-sharing schedule, as well as addresses such issues as the children's education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being. If the parties have not reached a final agreement, a proposed parenting plan may be acceptable. If the parenting arrangements and time-sharing schedule are not agreed to by the parties ahead of time, a judge may decide for the parties as part of establishing a parenting plan. Even if there is an agreement, the court has the right to modify issues relating to the minor children to ensure that the minors' interests are being protected.
In some states, the presiding judge may request a parenting evaluation or appoint a legal guardian for the minor children during the divorce action. This is to ensure that the minors' interests are protected.