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Creating a successful parenting plan with your ex

Divorcing parents in California generally know that they will have to come up a custody and visitation agreement, or parenting plan, to decide where the child will spend what days and who will make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. However, parents may not know where to begin when creating their plans and what details to include. Parenting plans, much like most other aspects of family law, should focus on the best interest of the child.

Before you get started, it is important to remember that your plan will be filed with the court and signed by both you and your ex, as well as the judge. Once a parenting plan is approved by the court, it becomes a court order, which means that you and your ex will have to follow it to the letter and can only make changes by filing modifications with the court. That is why it is necessary for you and your spouse to focus on what is in your child’s best interests when creating the plan. Make sure to consider your child’s age and abilities, and adjust the plan to fit your specific child.

When it comes to dividing your child’s time between your house and your ex-spouse’s house, make sure to give your child a consistent schedule that they can get comfortable with, particularly if the child is young. The parenting plan should address who the child will be with day-to-day, as well as who they will be with for various activities, weekends and overnights, schoolwork, holidays, and school vacations. Consider how far apart you live from your ex and come up with a reasonable and reliable schedule that makes sense for the child.

In addition to physical custody, the parenting plan should address decision-making when it comes to your child. There will be many decisions to be made as your child continues to grow, including where they will go to school, what religion they will be raised as, where they should receive medical and dental care, where they should go to daycare, and what activities they can participate in. If you generally see eye-to-eye with your ex when it comes to the children, you may decide that both of you will work together to make these decisions.

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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law
520 Warren Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-381-9591
Fax: 650-261-9650
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