You and your future former spouse made the conscious decision to keep your custody issues out of the courtroom. You don’t want to put any additional stress on your children as you go through this transition.
Moreover, you heard that creating your own parenting plan gives you more control over the final result and helps the two of you forge a better relationship as co-parents instead of spouses. However, you also need to obtain approval of your plan from a California court. What do you need to do to make sure that happens?
Meet the court’s standard
Even if you come up with unconventional ideas for post-divorce parenting such as living next door to each other, sharing the same property or something else, the court will most likely approve the plan if it meets the “best interests of the child” standard. This standard includes the following major elements:
- The less you disrupt your children’s lives with your plan, the better. The more consistent their lives remain, the better, as far as the court is concerned, even though judges acknowledge that some changes are unavoidable.
- Address the changes that do need to occur, along with how you both intend to minimize their impact.
- Illustrate that you and the other parent can meet your children’s needs from what to have for breakfast to the religion they will follow, if any.
- Show the court that your plan does not put your children in any danger.
- Make sure your plan addresses the age-appropriate needs of each child.
- Work to keep your children in the same neighborhood and school if appropriate.
- If moving better serves your children, then outline why for the court.
Overall, your plan needs to show that your primary focus is the best interests of your children. If the court suspects that your plan caters more to the needs of the parents, you could end up having to redo it. Even though you retain control over your parenting plan, the court still needs to do its job when considering whether to approve it.
More than likely, you have questions regarding how to balance doing what is best for your family with the court’s need to know that your plan meets its standard. It would be in everyone’s best interests for you to seek out answers to those questions before moving forward.