What is a parenting plan?

If you are divorcing in California and have children, you will need to file a parenting plan with the court.

A parenting plan addresses custody and visitation issues associated with making arrangements for children of divorced parents. It spells out how you and your ex-spouse will co-parent your children following your divorce.

The parenting plan should be developed and agreed to by both parents and approved by a court or, if the parents cannot agree, established by the court.

In entering into a parenting plan, the best interests of the children are the standard by which the court determines and allocates the parental responsibilities. The interests are met with an arrangement that best maintains a child’s emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care.

Parenting plans set forth the respective rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding their children, including residential time, decision-making authority and dispute resolution process.

You and your spouse need to decide:

  • Who will have legal custody? Legal custody gives you the right to make important decisions for your children, such as medical care, education, religious upbringing, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Who will be the primary physical custodian? Where will your children live? Primary physical custody can be with the mother, father or joint.
  • How will parenting time be shared? When one parent has primary physical custody of the children, the other typically has visitation rights.

In addition, the parenting plan must state how disputes between the parents should be resolved, with options such as, counseling, mediation, arbitration or court action listed.

Parenting plans require time and care. If you need to create a parenting plan, contact an experienced family law attorney for the help you need.

At the Orange County family law offices of Amy M. Montes, our team is here to assist you in creating and negotiating a parenting plan schedule that is mutually agreeable to both parents while being in the best interests of your children.