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What is a parenting plan, and what should it include?

Parenting plans are legal documents that define the visitation and custody agreements you and your ex-spouse have agreed on. The agreement may also be known as the Custody and Visitation Agreement in court. This plan is highly detailed, showing details about the times when a child will be with each parent. The details include information on holidays, events, vacations and how visitation and custody will work on a day-to-day basis.

Some things to include on a parenting plan include the kind of daycare you want your children to attend, the religion you want to raise the children in, and who should be contacted in case of an emergency. Identify who makes decisions in an emergency and how you'll share information about your children if an emergency takes place. Remember to identify the kind of religion and aspects of that religion that you want to see practiced if at all. If you decide on a daycare, have the information on that daycare in the plan.

Your parenting plan should include information on getting into contact with your children. Can you both contact your children while they're in the other parent's care, or do you want to limit contact when your child is with the other parent?

Decide which school your child or children will go to as well. This should be included in the plan as well as who the primary medical and dental providers should be. Your attorneys can help you draw up these plans, or you can work together in mediation to try to come to an agreement that you both find amicable.

Source: The Superior Court of California, County of Orange, "What Is a Parenting Plan?," accessed Oct. 07, 2016

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