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Are California Parents Required to Put Their Parenting Plans in Writing During a Divorce?

April 15, 2024, In Divorce

At Whitmarsh Family Law, PC, our Los Angeles family law attorney knows when California parents divorce, their children are the priority. This means they must create a Custody and Visitation Agreement called a Parenting Plan.

A parenting plan outlines how divorced or separated parents will share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children.

Family Law CA

Our Los Angeles County family lawyer also knows that California courts encourage parents to work together to create a parenting plan that works best for their family. Therefore, the courts do not require parents to use one standard parenting plan. Instead, they guide what must be included in a parenting plan. Parenting plans must be in writing, signed by both parents and approved by a judge to be enforceable.

What Information is Required in a California Parenting Plan?

Parents must customize the parenting plan to their specific situation and family dynamics and prioritize the child’s best interests. The details may vary based on factors like the children’s ages, parental work schedules, and the level of cooperation between the parents.

The following are common elements included in California parenting plans:

  • Custody and Visitation Schedule

The custody and visitation schedule outlines the physical custody arrangement, including where the child will reside and when they will spend time with each parent. It may include details about weekdays, weekends, holidays, school breaks, and summer vacations.

  • Decision-Making Authority

The parenting plan may specify how significant decisions will be made regarding the child’s education, healthcare, religion, and other essential matters. It may outline joint decision-making or designate one parent as having primary decision-making authority.

  • Communication

Guidelines for communication between parents regarding the child’s well-being, including methods of communication, frequency, and how disputes will be resolved.

  • Transportation

Details about how the child will be transported between parents’ homes for visitation exchanges, school, extracurricular activities, and other commitments.

  • Parenting Responsibilities

Allocation of responsibilities such as transportation, childcare arrangements, participation in school and extracurricular activities, and handling emergencies.

  • Dispute Resolution

Methods for resolving disagreements or disputes regarding the parenting plan, like mediation or arbitration.

  • Relocation

Procedures for addressing a parent’s potential relocation, including notice requirements and modifications to the parenting plan.

What Happens If California Parents Cannot Agree on a Parenting Plan?

Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to work together to reach a mutually agreeable parenting plan that prioritizes their child’s best interests.

If they cannot agree on a parenting plan, California parents must participate in mediation before receiving a court hearing on child custody and visitation.

If mediation is unsuccessful, or if one parent refuses to participate in mediation, either parent can file a motion with the court requesting a custody or visitation order. The court will schedule a hearing where both parents can present their arguments, evidence, and proposed parenting plans.

Based on the evidence presented, including any recommendations from a custody evaluation, the court will issue a custody and visitation order that outlines the parenting plan. The court’s decision will be based on the child’s best interests, considering factors like the child’s age, health, safety, and welfare and the parent’s ability to care for the child.

Contact Our Skilled Family Law Attorneys at Whitmarsh Family Law, PC Today

If you have questions about how your divorce will impact a parenting plan or child custody hearings and how we can help with your case, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at Whitmarsh Family Law, PC, by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today.

We can help provide solutions that produce results.

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If you are considering a Divorce in Los Angeles, CA, Contact our experienced Attorney Today and Get a Free Consultation.

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