What to include in a California parenting plan

Transitioning from raising your child with your former partner to raising your child, together, but in separate homes, is often challenging. You and your ex may find that things become easier if you create a written document called a parenting plan.

A parenting plan may address virtually anything related to raising your child, and it becomes an official court order when you both sign it, you file it with the court, and a judge signs it. When creating your parenting plan, it is important to consider your child’s needs, first and foremost. What matters might you address in your parenting plan?

Time-sharing agreements

Make sure your plan outlines exactly who is to have physical custody over your child, and when. While you should outline your general custody agreement in the document, you should also hash out what you plan to do with the child when it comes to birthdays, holidays, school vacations and the like.

If you believe transporting your son or daughter back and forth may cause strife between you and your ex, use the parenting plan to dictate your agreed-upon terms in this area. It may also benefit your child to set specific times when he or she is going to travel back and forth between homes.

Decision-making agreements

A strong California parenting plan should also outline who has decision-making authority over your child, and when. You might agree that both parents should convene when it comes to financial, medical or religious decisions, for example. Conversely, you might agree that the parent watching the child at the time has the final say in these or other areas.