Parenting plans are plans you and your spouse or child’s other parent put together to describe how your child will be cared for during every day of his or her life. For example, you need to know where your child will be on holidays. You need to know emergency numbers. You need to understand medical needs and where your child’s doctors are.

Parenting plans help parents who aren’t living together keep their information about their child consistent. These plans talk about both decision-making and time-share concerns. The written plan dictates how a child will be raised and what each parent expects from the other.

When you design a parenting plan, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, you’ll need to create a plan that takes into consideration your child’s need for routine, rest, guidance, love and medical care. You need to consider your child’s age and personality.

It’s a good idea to look at a calendar when you begin to make a plan. You and your ex-partner need to design a plan that outlines when you and he or she will see your child. Discuss overnight visits, holidays, day-to-day care and unexpected situations. Make your plan detailed, so it’s easier to follow through on and enforce. A solid plan also gives your child a sense of routine and balance.

Parenting plans should have information on how to obtain information about your child, when you or your ex can call or communicate with the child, how to access important records and important addresses and phone numbers. Your attorney can help you be positive that all necessary information is in your plan.

Source: California Department of Justice, “Parenting Plans,” accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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