Parenting Plan and Visitation Attorney in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, CA
For any family, navigating parenting plans and visitation can be stressful. It can be difficult to reach agreements regarding how children are cared for, especially between divorcing spouses. Parenting plans offer a solution, allowing parents to sit down and negotiate how children will be raised moving forward. At Wine Country Family Law, P.C., our dedicated parenting plan attorneys take the time to get to know you and your family. In doing so, we are better able to tailor parenting plans that work for your unique situation. Ready to get started? Call us today at (707) 669-0841 to learn more.
What Are Parenting Plans in California?
More formally known as a custody and visitation agreement, parenting plans are used to establish how time will be split between parents and how important decisions will be made for a child or children. Parenting plans are written agreements, meaning they must be signed by both parents and approved by the court.
In California, a typical parenting plan will address two primary elements:
- Physical custody: a time-sharing schedule will be used to dictate when the children will be with each parent.
- Decision-making: a decision-making roadmap will establish how major choices about the children’s education, health, and welfare will be made.
Regardless of the content you and your ex-spouse or other parent chose to include within the parenting plan, it is important to use language that does not leave room for interpretation. Clear and airtight language helps to avoid disagreements and will result in faster court approval of the parenting plan. Many people seek assistance from a parenting plan attorney to help craft their agreements. At Wine Country Family Law, P.C., we have helped numerous families craft personalized parenting plans that work for their unique circumstances and benefit their children as fully as possible.
Other Helpful Considerations
The beauty of a parenting plan is the flexibility it allows. Parents can go into as much detail as possible within their parenting plans, assuming that agreements can be made. Some of the following elements are not required but could be valuable to include within a parenting plan:
- Communication and response time. It can be helpful to include parameters regarding how long one parent should wait for the other to respond before making a decision. For instance, if one parent wishes to sign a child up for a soccer team, how long must that parent wait for the other to agree? If the other parent fails to respond in the specified time, then the parent can act alone and sign the child up for the activity.
- Whether or not you include this in your plan depends largely on the child support agreement that has been reached in the divorce proceedings, if applicable. It can be beneficial to address how smaller expenses are split within the parenting plan.
- Child care. To avoid disagreements down the line, some parents opt to include specifications about child care. Perhaps each parent is given an opportunity to take the children before a babysitter or daycare is utilized on any given day. Navigating child care provisions can be complicated, however, and an experienced parenting plan attorney can help you understand how to implement such provisions in your agreement.
When crafting a parenting plan, it is crucial to consider the unique needs of your children. Consider their basic needs, rest, medical care, and routine when forming a parenting agreement. Remember, courts will be looking to see that the children’s health, safety, and welfare are accounted for in the parenting plan. If the agreement stands to disrupt the childrens’ lives or promotes a sense of instability, the courts may not approve of the plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
After spending years crafting parenting plans for families in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, we have identified the most frequently asked questions by parents.
What is Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody?
All California parenting plans must address whether legal and physical custody will be jointly shared or shared in some other manner. Custody is one of the key elements of a parenting plan, but what is the differentiation between legal and physical custody?
Chapter 4 of the California Family Code discusses the differences between physical and legal custody. These differences can be summarized as the following:
- Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to exercise legal control over the children. This legal control relates to decision-making about the health, education, and welfare of the child. If parents share legal custody, then both are responsible for making these decisions.
- Physical custody refers to the responsibility of caring for the child, as it pertains to residency and supervision. If parents share physical custody, then the children will spend time living with each parent for a period of time.
It is important to note that both physical and legal custody can be granted to one parent or shared. Moreover, a court may grant joint legal custody, for example, without granting joint physical custody. These agreements depend on the specific circumstances and are made at the court’s discretion. A parenting plan attorney at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. can help negotiate the terms of these agreements and ensure an appropriate distribution of legal and physical custody.
Do I Need a Parenting Plan Attorney?
While a parenting plan attorney is not required under California law, there are distinct benefits associated with seeking the assistance of a lawyer when crafting a parenting plan and navigating custody agreements. In some cases, one parent’s idea of their children’s health, education, and welfare varies greatly from that of the other parent. In these situations, it is common for disputes to arise.
A family law attorney knows how to negotiate terms of custody agreements with your child’s best interests at the forefront of all discussions. Having a dedicated professional advocating for your rights and your child’s best interests can make a great difference on the outcome of custodial agreements.
Wine Country Family Law, P.C. Can Help
A well-crafted parenting plan can help families navigate divorce in a way that benefits all parties involved. For this reason, these agreements can be a powerful tool when used strategically. A parenting plan attorney at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. can help you get the most out of your parenting agreement. Consider contacting our team at (707) 669-0841 to learn more about how we can help.