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Are you worried about what to include in your parenting plan?

If you're like most divorcing parents in Arcadia, you're probably facing a lot of emotional stress relating to your breakup. Like most parents, though, you're probably also willing to work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to organize the details related to child custody.

Most Arcadia parents recognize the value of coming to a peaceful resolution to their differences. In fact, in a lot of situations, parents see eye-to-eye on what child custody arrangements make sense, but where do you start?

Developing a practical parenting plan

California family law judges will always make their decisions regarding child custody with the best interests of the children in mind. As such, parents will want to do the same. Creating a parenting plan is not about what works best for you, and it's not about what works best for your spouse. Although your and your spouse's needs should certainly factor importantly into the equation, your children's needs must take precedence.

With this in mind, here are a few things you'll want to decide in your parenting plan:

-- With whom will the children live, and when? The term for this is physical custody and sometimes the parents will share physical custody 50/50, meaning that the children will spend half the time with one parent and half the time with the other.

-- If only one parent has physical custody, what will the visitation schedule be like? Perhaps children will spend two weekends per month with one parent.

-- Who will have legal custody? This parent makes decisions about upbringing, education, health, religion and welfare. Often parents will share legal custody, but sometimes -- if parents can't see eye-to-eye -- it's best that only one parent has this authority.

-- How will you organize contact with family, friends, grandparents and others?

-- How will you settle future disagreements, disputes or required changes?

Seek help to ensure your parenting plan is appropriate

A family law court must approve all California parenting plans, even if the spouses establish the terms in an out-of-court agreement. With the help of a family law attorney, you can ensure that you've organized your parenting plan in a fair and legally appropriate manner that a court will approve.

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