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How is a Parenting Plan Different than Child Custody

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2019 | Child Custody and Visitation

How is a parenting plan different than child custody in a Carlsbad divorce? Child Custody is generally made up of two components: physical custody and legal custody.  Physical Custody is the legal right to have a child live in your home, while legal custody is the right to make important decisions regarding medical, religious, education and other practices in the child’s life.

A Parenting Plan is a component of physical custody and lays out specific steps for how the child or children will be cared for while ensuring regular quality time with each parent after the divorce.
The common term for this used to be “visitation.”  The Parenting Plan is a written agreement between the parties establishing the responsibilities, visitation schedule and roles of each parent going forward.  How much time will the child(ren) spend with each parent and on what schedule?  How will holidays and vacations be allocated between the parties?  How will the child(ren) move from place to place, school and activities?

The guiding principle established in California law is “the best interests of the child.”  The Parenting Plan should be comprehensive, while providing an easy to follow schedule for both the child(ren) and the parents.  When both parties are working cooperatively with the best interests of the child(ren) at heart Parenting Plans can be quite creative.

While most Parenting Plans are firmly established, there should be flexibility as the children age, needs change and schedules adjust.  In most cases the Parenting Plan can be modified with the simple agreement of the parties.  In some cases this may require mediation or the input of the Court.

The Court must approve the Parenting Plan put forward by the parties, but in most cases when a plan is based upon a well thought out and carefully crafted agreement the Court will accept it.

Now you know the general concepts which make a parenting plan different than child custody in a divorce context.  If you are considering a divorce and are concerned about issues such as how often you will be able to see your child or play an active role in their life it is important to seek the counsel of the experienced, proven Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq, APC.  We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment.