A thorough parenting plan is a necessary part of every shared custody arrangement. Nevertheless, even when separating parents are still on civil terms and are able to work together, putting together a parenting plan can be a challenge. There are numerous subjects that must be addressed, and leaving gaps or ambiguities in a parenting plan can lead to confusion, discord and even further litigation in the future. This can mean more time in court, higher legal fees and more trauma for your family. That is why it is so important to get it right the first time.
To fulfill its purpose — promoting stability for the child or children and avoiding discord between the parents — a California parenting plan must be thorough and clear. As such, it should carefully address all of the following subjects:
Routine custody — A parenting plan should clearly delineate the time each parent is entitled to custody during a typical week. This should include the time and place that exchanges are to take place.
Special custody — A parenting plan must also address rotating custody for holidays and special events. It should provide special arrangements for family vacations and address what parents must do if they want to travel out of state with the child.
Decision-making — The plan should define what decisions the parent with custody can make alone and what decisions must be made by both parents. It can also answer certain questions in advance like what school the children attend or what extracurricular activities they can undertake.
Information-sharing — The plan should clearly define each parent’s obligation to inform the other about matters concerning the child and should allow both parents to access school and medical records and to speak with teachers and doctors about the child.