What are four elements of a strong San Diego parenting plan? How does one approach the process of developing a workable, fair and productive child custody and parenting time schedule during a divorce? When a San Diego divorce involves children the guiding principle will always be “the best interests of the child(ren).” While child custody and parenting time can be quite a contentious issue in some cases in other instances it is more of a matter of working through the process of identifying the existing rhythms in each child’s life and designing a parenting plan which will provide continuity to help ease the child through the divorce and the months and years which follow.
There are four elements of a strong San Diego parenting plan which must be considered and ultimately resolved. These issues include developing a schedule for each parent and each child, establishing strategies for communication between the co-parents as well as each child and each parent, financial provision to meet the needs of each child and contingency planning for inevitable emergencies.
The parenting time schedule should be based upon the routine of each child, focusing upon school, activities, religious practices, holidays, birthdays and vacations. The schedule should be carefully planned and well documented to capture the essence and intent of the parties while taking every aspect of the child’s life into account. Our Courts generally prefer a schedule which provides relatively equal “quality time” with each parent if not a 50/50 division between the parties. This should also include specific agreements regarding the steps required to take a child out of the area, state or even country.
The parenting plan should provide for consistent, open communication between each parent and child. How and through what medium(s) will each parent speak with each of their children on a regular and consistent basis? What responsibility does each party have to know where the child is at all times and to maintain agreements regarding issues such as transportation and supervision.
Another of the four elements of a strong San Diego parenting plan involves the financial arrangements between the co-parents and bearing specific expenses which might arise in the future. Who is responsible for providing health insurance and how will medical expenses be borne? How will costs associated with extra-curricular activities, private schools, and other natural expenses be divided?
Finally, your parenting plan should anticipate potential emergencies and how the parties will handle issues such as discipline, a child who doesn’t feel like seeing the other parent or genuine illness. These contingency plans should cover events such as an accident resulting in injury to a child, a death in the family or interruptions in any of the vehicles associated with the child’s transportation.
If you begin with these four elements of a strong San Diego parenting plan you are on the way to developing an agreement or settlement which can be reviewed and ultimately approved by the Court. If there are any issues which cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation between the parties, the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq and opposing counsel the Judge in your case will make the final decision.