For California parents used to seeing their kids daily, divorce is a terrifying prospect. It often includes joint custody, which means the children spend part of their time with one parent, then the other. This changes the family structure, making it challenging for the kids too. However, you and your spouse can create a unique plan that allows your kids to spend time with each of you frequently.
According to the California Courts, you must present a parenting plan to the judge before finalizing your divorce. This agreement details the time each parent shares their kids with the other. Basing the schedule on each child’s needs can help you provide the support they need and remain flexible. It can also help avoid going back to court and making official custody modifications later. An effective parenting plan covers time-sharing and decision-making.
This schedule details when your kids spend time with you vs. your ex. Dividing holidays and school vacations are often the easiest part of the schedule. Considering the hours after school, weekends and special events can become complicated. You may have to work around frequent travel schedules or each child’s extracurricular activities.
The parenting agreement can address a broad range of topics, from healthcare and religion to discipline and homework. Joint custody works best when the parents can agree on the handling of these topics. Your plan should be easy to understand and enforce and practical enough to give your kids a sense of security with a steady routine.
Compromise is an essential element of a parenting agreement. If your ex aggressively fights for full custody or does not comply with the agreement, understanding your options is crucial for protecting your parental rights.