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How to Create a Child Custody and Visitation Plan

When parents get divorced or separated, they must create a “parenting plan” that outlines how their children will be cared for and where they will live and spend their time. This written agreement helps reduce conflict between parents over shared parenting time and provides children with more stability in knowing what to expect.

A parenting plan includes:

  • A time-sharing schedule that states when the children will be with each parent, and

  • States how parents will make decisions regarding the children’s health, education, and welfare.

The parenting plan will need to be approved by both parents and the judge and then filed with the court, for it to become a court-ordered plan.

A parenting plan should make sure that both parents are able to stay involved in their children’s lives and have access to important information about their children. This includes:

  • Contact information including phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses

  • A way for both parents to have access to call their children

  • Allows both parents to access medical and educational records

How to Create a Parenting Plan

When parents are creating their parenting plan, they should keep their children’s best interests in mind. The plan should be what is best for the children. However, this can be hard for parents to remember during this. Oftentimes, they think about how custody and visitation affect their daily lives, rather than considering what schedule will be the best for their children’s needs.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when drafting a parenting plan:

  • Is clear and specific enough for both parents to understand and enforce it

  • Meets all of your children’s basic needs

  • Considers the children’s ages, relationships with each parent, and their personalities

  • Provides children with consistent, regular time with each parent

  • Addresses when and where children will spend weekdays, weekends, holidays, and vacations

  • States how and when transportation of the children will occur

The Children’s Best Interests

Divorce is extremely difficult for children. Children need stability in their life, and a significant change like this makes it harder for them to understand. Adding in fighting amongst parents only makes the transition into the new family dynamic that much harder for the children.

Parents will need to work together as best as they can to put aside their differences for the sake of their children. The key here is to be communicative, flexible, and respectful with one another. If parents cannot stop conflict from occurring or are finding it difficult to keep their children out of their problems, it can be beneficial to participate in parenting classes or seek out additional support.

If you are struggling with creating a custody and visitation plan with your children’s other parent, it can help to seek legal advice from a Marina Del Rey child custody lawyer. At Marmolejo Law, APC, our experienced attorney Diane Marmolejo can help guide you through the custody process while protecting your rights and the best interests of your children. We understand how difficult family law matters can be, and are dedicated to supporting you during this overwhelming situation.

We are here for you. Call our Marina Del Rey child custody attorney at (310) 736-2063 to discuss your child custody case today.