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Don't go into parenting plan discussions without a plan

Making plans for the future is something many of us do every day, whether that involves scheduling meetings, booking a vacation, planning parties or making budgets. Having a clear plan in place is a good way to be prepared and avoid any messy complications that can arise.

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While it may seem easy enough to make plans, it can ultimately be a challenge if you are preparing for something very complicated or significant. Sticking with that plan once the time comes can also be more difficult than people expect. This is why it can be crucial for parents to work with an attorney to make and follow through with parenting plans.

A parenting plan is an agreement between parties raising a child together. It includes stipulations on custody and visitation times and details the responsibilities and rights of each parent.

In many cases, these plans can be developed by parents during collaboration or mediation procedures. This is a good opportunity for parents to discuss their goals, fears, wants and concerns with each other.

There are also situations where parents cannot reach these decisions on their own and litigation is necessary. When this happens, parents go to court and present their arguments to a judge who will make determinations on parenting time, set the rules for custody and address any potential violations.

In either scenario, being prepared will be crucial. Entering a discussion with your ex can make you feel nervous and upset so it can be easy to give in or react based on those emotions. In the courtroom, you can feel intimidated or combative and give off a different impression of yourself.

However, making a plan with your attorney can help you work through problems ahead of time and explore what you really want and are prepared to do. When it comes time to go to court or discuss your options with your ex, your attorney can help you stay focused and pursue fair, favorable outcomes that protect your rights and requests as a parent.

Source: California Courts, "Parenting Plans," accessed on Nov. 13, 2015 

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