Following a parent's divorce, each party may have different plans on how they can rebuild their life after the marriage. That plan also includes how they can maintain a good relationship with their child, in spite of the divorce. A stable parent-child relationship, visitation time and time sharing are among the issues included in a parenting plan.
In California, a parenting plan is also called a custody and visitation agreement. It is a written agreement made by both parents that addresses time shares and decision-making when it comes to the child's education, health and welfare. The agreement may allow both parents and children on what to expect in parenting after the child custody is resolved. It can also minimize conflicts regarding shared parenting. A parenting plan is a court order signed by both parents in the best interests of the child.
When California parents are trying to develop a parenting plan, there are different factors that need consideration. According to the California courts, the agreement should meet the children's basic needs. That involves a healthy diet, good medical care, love, guidance and protection. Parents should consider their children's personalities, age, abilities and experiences to determine if they can adjust well to the plan.
The parenting agreement should give children consistent and regular day-to-day care, and parent should be involved in schoolwork, activities, vacations and holidays. Setting up a parenting calendar would be helpful. Flexibility should also take into account in the parenting plan. Parents should be able to make reasonable adjustments in the different circumstances.
Both parents should easily understand the parenting plan. Every detail regarding the needs and rights of each parent should be indicated, and how they can exercise those rights in accordance with the agreement. Parents must know that setting up a custody and visitation schedule would be meaningless if both parents are not active in playing their role as co-parents.
Source: California Courts, "Parenting Plans," Accessed on Jan. 1, 2015