San Diego Child Custody Lawyer: Parenting Plan

Whether you were not married, as in a paternity case, or married, as in a legal separation or divorce case, a parenting plan you want [or can live with] may be the most important part of your case. Many San Diego parents reach agreements on their parenting plan, however many do not as well. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has attorneys with experience in advising parents on the plans available and helping to obtain these goals.

It is good to start with some basics about parenting plans. There is legal custody and physical custody, and it is important to understand the difference because they are very different. Legal custody involves decision making about the education, welfare and health of the children. Physical custody involves a schedule for when the children will be parented by each parent and often includes a time share schedule and percentage.

When you are thinking about the parenting plan, there are many considerations. Will the agreement be specific enough so that there are minimal disagreements on the schedule? Will the agreement give each child continuing and frequent contact with each parent and considerations include weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations and three day weekends, among others? Does this agreement meet the needs of your children for guidance and protection and love and a good living and educational environment?

There are many factors you, and the Judge if you cannot reach an agreement, will consider in a plan for parenting. These include the health and any special needs of the child. Also, what are the age[s] of the children? Is there any history of substance/alcohol abuse? Is there a history of domestic violence? Have there been any substantiated allegations of neglect, molest or abuse by San Diego Child Protective Services? What is the bond between the children and parents? Are there full or half siblings? What are the work schedules and school schedules? How far apart do the parents live from each other? What extra-curricular activities do the children have and where and at what times? There are many others which are very important as well. The San Diego Family Law Judge has discretion where the children live and with who.

One strategy which has worked is to have a “usual weekly schedule” which lists the day and times each parent will have the children. This does not take the place of a court order but is a good place to start considering the parenting plan you want. If you agree, the Judges will [almost always] agree as well as long as in accord with CA law. Parenting plans can be as simple as “week on/week off” to as complicated as daily exchanges.

While it is very good to have consistency for the parenting plan, there are times when this schedule may be deviated. Normally, for example, there is a schedule for the holidays. It is common in San Diego Family Law Court to have the Christmas break be divided equally into “odd and even” years so that they alternate. In addition, it is common for parents to be allowed to take a vacation with the children which can range from one week to many weeks. Further, summer may be divided one half each.

As will be readily seen, it can get confusing as to when the normal weekly plan or the holiday or vacation or summer plan is in effect and which takes precedence over the others. A most specific plan helps to avoid dispute issues. No one wants to have to appear in court right before a holiday or a vacation to ask the Judge for an order due to disagreement over the parenting plan.

San Diego Divorce Attorney

Feel free to call 800-769-4748 for a free consultation to discuss parenting plans, and other family law issues, with a California licensed attorney. Doppelt and Forney, APLC will offer you a confidential consultation up to one half of an hour to discuss your individual case. Whether your live in La Jolla, Scripps Ranch, Escondido, San Marcos, Del Sur, 4S Ranch, Del Mar or any other San Diego community, their attorneys can represent you in San Diego County Courts.

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