What Is Parenting Plan? | Parenting Agreements | CA Law

What Is a Parenting Plan and Why Is It So Important?

A Parenting Plan or Parenting Agreement is a written agreement between parents outlining how they will raise their children after they separate or divorce. A Parenting Plan should filed with the court, and some of the agreements parents make are legally enforceable, while others are not.

A Parenting Plan can either stand on its own, or it can be part of a couple’s Marital Settlement Agreement. Often times a Parenting Plan is created by the parents while working with a Divorce Mediation attorney. It can also be negotiated for the parents by their family law attorneys. A Parenting Plan is so important in the state of California that, if parents can’t agree on a plan, the judge will make many parenting decisions for them Whether the parents were married or not, they still need a Parenting Plan when they separate.

What should a Parenting Plan include?

The primary purpose of a Parenting Plan is to ensure that the needs of the children, including their health, education and welfare, will be taken care of when the couple separates. A carefully considered Parenting Plan can help reduce conflict between the parents by setting clear guidelines and expectations moving forward. For that reason, a Parenting Plan can cover a wide range of topics:

  • • Child Custody – Who will have physical custody of the children: where will the children live most of the time and who will provide their day-to-day care?
  • Visitation rights – When will the non-custodial parent be able to see the children? Will there be a consistent weekly schedule? Monthly schedule?
  • Childcare and babysitting arrangements – Who will take care of the children when one parent is away?
  • Health care – How will decisions will be made about dental or medical treatment? Who will go to medical appointments?
  • Education – Which school district and schools will the children attend?
  • Vacation and holidays schedule – How much vacation time will each parent get and when? Where will the children spend the various Holidays?
  • Religion – Will the children have a religious upbringing? What activities will they participate in?
  • Social activities – How will social decisions be made, such as use of a personal phone, time spent on the Internet, and time spent with friends? What is curfew time? At what age can they date?
  • Diet and nutrition – What types of foods will they eat and drink?
  • Romantic partners – if one parent becomes romantically involved, how will that partner be introduced?

These are just some of the many important issues to consider when negotiating a Parent Plan. It’s always better for everyone concerned, especially the children, if the parents can agree on a Parenting Plan, rather than have the court make these important decisions for them.

Learn More

If you are a parent who is separating from your spouse or partner, and you need to create a Parenting Plan, please contact our office for a consultation. We provide both family law mediation as well as child custody advice. We can help you develop a Parenting Plan that works for you and your ex-spouse or partner, and most importantly, addresses the needs of your children.

Attorney Christina Sherman is a Marin County CA family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues.

Disclaimer: Law Office of Christina Sherman publishes articles about family law cases on its website for informational purposes only. The information contained herein may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Law Office of Christina Sherman or the individual author. This general information is not a substitute for legal advice on any subject matter. For advice pertaining to your specific case, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this article without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. Using this information or sending electronic mail to Law Office of Christina Sherman or its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements pertaining to past results do not guarantee future results.