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Co-parenting in Vermont: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Legal Custody in Vermont

Legal custody in the state of Vermont involves the right to make decisions concerning the welfare of the child. Vermont law (Vermont Statute § 5601) dictates that both parents are the joint legal custodians of their children unless a court orders otherwise or the parents have agreed otherwise. This means that each parent usually has equal rights to make decisions regarding matters such as health care, education, religion, and extracurricular activities.


Child Support in Vermont

Vermont defines child support as a payment made by one parent (the obligor) to the other parent (the obligee) for the benefit of a child (Vermont Statute § 1912). In basic terms, the purpose of child support is to help ensure that a child remains supported by both parents. The amount of child support a parent is legally obligated to pay is determined using the Vermont Child Support Guidelines. This guideline considers factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children the obligor is responsible for, the amount of parenting time each parent has with the child, and the costs of health insurance and daycare. The guidelines are regularly updated according to inflation.


Co-parenting Expenses in Vermont

In addition to child support, Vermont also recognizes that parents should sometimes contribute to additional costs. This can include special medical costs, post-aid schooling, and other expenses related to the child’s upbringing. Both parents may contribute to such costs unrelated to child support in a proportion determined by each one's income. (Vermont Statute 1909) For instance, if one parent earns $4,000 per month and the other earns $6,000 each month, then the lower earning parent would pay 40% of the co-parenting expenses, while the higher earning parent would pay 60%. Parents who do not receive child support may also be responsible for paying a portion of the co-parenting expenses.


Parental Rights and Decisions in Vermont

Vermont law (Vermont Statute § 5203) states that both parents must make all major decisions regarding their child’s upbringing together. This includes important decisions such as religious upbringing, education, daycare, and healthcare. Being a co-parent means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities. Each parent should have a voice in the decisions, and neither parent should be able to override the wishes of the other without reason.


Parenting Plan in Vermont

A parenting plan is a written agreement which both parents must sign and adhere to which outlines all legal and practical details of the child’s life and how it is to be divided between them (Vermont Statute § 5407 ). This agreement should include all basic parental rights and duties, as well as information on child support, health insurance, and visitation rights. The parenting plan should be developed in the best interests of the child and provide for the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child. If both parents are not able to agree to the parenting plan, Vermont courts will have the authority to create a plan on their behalf.


Visitation Rights in Vermont

In the absence of serious physical injury, extreme emotional distress to the child, or lack of an understanding of the visitation agreement, visitation rights in Vermont (Vermont Statute 5402) should be granted to the non-custodial parent. Visitation should occur at least once a month and be subject to reasonable conditions to ensure the safety of the child. When designing a visitation agreement, the court will take into account factors such as the willingness of both parents to support the relationship of the child, the mental and physical health of both parents, the age of the child, and the distance between the two parent’s homes.


Mediation in Vermont

When co-parents cannot agree on all the details of a parenting plan or visitation, Vermont encourages the use of mediation (Vermont Statute § 5409) to resolve their disputes in the best interests of the child. The mediator is a neutral third party who assists both parents in understanding the other parent’s wishes and helping them to reach an agreement. The use of mediation can help foster healthy communication and collaboration between the co-parents in a safe and respectful environment.



Co-parenting in the state of Vermont is a complex process that requires understanding and agreement of legal matters such as custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, parental rights, decisions, parenting plans, and visitation rights. Whenever disputes arise, mediation with a neutral third party is strongly recommended. By having a firm understanding of the laws and regulations in place, both parents can create the best plan for their family and the future of their child. It is also important to consider hiring an attorney with experience in family law as they can provide insight into the legal framework surrounding co-parenting in Vermont and help co-parents make informed decisions in the best interests of their child.


Fact Check and Sources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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