You use OPTIMAL by making entries in the Tracker that show when the child or children were actually with you (or legally under your care). This time is compared against the parenting plan schedule you set in the Calendar.
It's best to make parenting time entries after a visit has ended. For example, after you drop the children off, make a Tracker entry showing when the visit started and when it stopped. The OPTIMAL system does the rest, comparing the block of actual time you just entered with the Parenting Plan schedule you outlined in the Calendar.
OPTIMAL automatically detects visits where you may have gotten more or less time than the Parenting Plan schedule called for, as well as visits that were denied.
To make an entry showing your parenting time, follow these steps. Note that many of the fields are optional.
- Click the Tracker icon in the OPTIMAL toolbar.
- Click the Add a new Tracker entry button at the top of the screen.
- Set the Start and Stop Times: Use the Calendars and the Hour and Minute dropdown lists to show when the parenting time began and ended.
|If your parenting time spans multiple days, show that by using the calendar buttons to set different Start and Stop dates. There is no need to stop the time at midnight and start again the next day. Just use the Start and Stop Dates to cover the full range of dates that your parenting time spanned. |
- Mark the children who were present during this visit: Put a checkmark in the box by each child's name who was present during this block of parenting time.
- Set the Visit Type and Location as needed. (You can create your own Type and Location labels for these fields if you want to. See the section on Custom Label Settings for more information.)
- Optional field: If you want to track Non-Parental Time, enter the hours and minutes in the NP Time field. (See the section on Tracking Non-Parental Time for more information.)
- You can also add some optional information such as notes or event flags by clicking the icon next to the "additional options" label:
- Optional field: The "Parent or Guardian" field will default to your name, but you may enter a different name if you need to.
- Optional fields: Fill in the other fields if you want: "Other People Present", "Expenses", and "Total Miles Driven".
- Optional field: Select some icon flags to help mark the entry.
- Enter comments to describe this visit. Technically this is optional, but we recommend that you make some notes here. For example, you may want to make note of activities, things the children said or did, places you visited, events worth noting, and so on.
- Save the Tracker entry by clicking the Save this record button. The entry will be saved and added to your Tracker records.
Note: If you need to, you can go back and edit the "start" or "stop" times as needed (for example, to correct the pick-up or drop-off time), but you can avoid having to do this by just making the Tracker entries after your parenting time has concluded.