Separation and divorce are sometimes inevitable, and when they occur, a couple must come up with a plan on how they will raise the kids without cohabitating. They can do this by preparing a document that outlines parenting duties, responsibilities, and privileges after the separation. This document is what is called a parenting plan. You may have heard people use terms such as “custody” and “visitation order” to refer to the parenting plan.
Parenting Plans Can Be Legally Enforceable
A parenting plan is not just a random document that one party can disregard whenever they want. The document can be legally enforceable once both parties have agreed to the terms. To legalize parenting plans in California, they must be signed by both parents and a judge. After that, the document is filed with the court clerk. If one party breaks the terms of the parenting plan, they can be charged with criminal and/or legal penalties.
Legalizing the document is a crucial step in preparing a parenting plan as it ensures that both parties respect the terms of the agreement. It also prevents one parent from undermining the other by denying visitation, child support, or other essential needs of the kids. However, not all ex-couples legalize their plans. Some have a written document and adhere to its terms without necessarily involving the courts.
What to Include in a Parenting Plan
California law does not have stringent rules on parenting plans and how they should be written. It is the responsibilities of the ex-partners to come up with a document that works for them. However, once the document is legalized, violating its terms will result in penalties. A family lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga can help prepare and file the document to avoid such issues. Properly preparing a plan can outline the following issues:
- Details of physical custody (i.e., where the kids will live, with which parent they will spend their holidays, and visitation details)
- Legal custody (i.e., which parent makes decisions concerning health, education, general welfare, emergencies, etc.)
- Transportation arrangements
- Parenting guidelines that the ex-partners agree to use when raising the kid including how they will handle parenting issues when they arise or how decisions affecting the child will be made (jointly or by one parent)
- Specifications on how each parent will strive to protect the relationship between their ex-partner and the children
- Information on how and when parents can revise the parenting plan and how information can be shared between parents
- How child support will be divided among the ex-partners
This document outlines every vital aspect of child care, and it promotes peace and harmony among the ex-partners.
When preparing this document, it is paramount that both parties put emotions aside and focus on the needs of the children. The primary goal of the parenting plan is to ensure that each child gets his or her basic needs and achieves physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, even in the absence of one parent.
How to Make a Parenting Plan Work
Once you have prepared the document, the next big thing is to implement it. It is advisable to make the document legally enforceable so that both parties can adhere to the terms therein. Visit a California family court to legalize the plan. After that, ensure that you keep communication lines open with your ex to ensure that you are always on the same page in matters of parenting. Don’t forget to include a revision clause in your parenting plan – if something isn’t working, you can renegotiate and change the terms of the agreement.
A parenting plan is an indispensable document for parents who are divorced or separated. It promotes peace and harmony in parenting and ensures that the children get quality time with each parent. Keep these tips in mind when preparing your document. Don’t hesitate to consult an expert for legal advice if you are unable to agree with your ex.