Including Provisions in Your Parenting Plan

What Is a Parenting Plan?  

A parenting plan, also known as a custody and visitation agreement or custody schedule, is a legally binding document that outlines how parents will continue to care and provide for their children following a separation or divorce. This plan is of utmost importance as it not only provides clarity and structure but also ensures the best interests of the child are prioritized.  

It becomes especially vital in cases of custody disputes, where it serves as a roadmap for shared parental responsibilities and avoids potential conflicts. In California, if parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will intervene and establish one on their behalf. However, courts generally believe that children benefit from having both parents in their lives and encourage parents to try and agree on a plan that allows for this while still considering other factors, such as the child's safety and well-being. 

What Does a Parenting Plan Include?  

Creating an effective parenting plan requires cooperation and open communication between parents. It necessitates a mutual understanding that the welfare of their child takes precedence over any personal disagreements.  

The plan typically encompasses several key elements. These include but are not limited to:  

  • a schedule detailing when the children will be with each parent,  

  • a method for making major decisions (like health care, education),  

  • stipulations about transportation and exchange of the children, and  

  • guidelines on communication between parents. 

Parents have the option to customize the plan to cater to their unique family situation, which is often encouraged to ensure the plan is as practical and conducive as possible for all parties involved. Adding specific provisions to the parenting plan can assist in clarifying these expectations.  

Examples of Unique Provisions in Parenting Plans 

Here are some examples of provisions you may consider adding to your parenting plan:  

  • Discipline provisions can outline the agreed-upon strategies both parents will employ to manage their child's behavior. This may encompass techniques for promoting positive behaviors, as well as consequences for negative actions. By establishing these provisions, parents aim to create a consistent disciplinary environment across both households, which is critical to the child's development and sense of security. These provisions may include strategies for dealing with common issues like tantrums, non-compliance, or poor school performance. It can also cover more serious concerns, such as bullying or lying. Above all, the discipline provisions should prioritize the child's well-being and development.  

  • Drug and alcohol use provisions can set out clear expectations around substance use, particularly when the child is in the care of either parent. For instance, the provision could stipulate that neither parent will consume alcohol or marijuana during their parenting time or within a certain time frame before picking up the child. It could also include conditions around prescription medication abuse. In other cases, these provisions may also ask that parents not have events not allow third parties to drink or smoke around their child either or that the child not be in an enclosed space where someone smokes tobacco or marijuana.  

  • Electronic communication provisions are essential in the digital age, and they can be included in a parenting plan to establish rules and expectations around the use of technology. This can include email, social media, texting, and video calls between parents and children. The provisions could specify the appropriate times for electronic communication, the platforms that can be used, and rules around privacy and the content of messages. For instance, it can be agreed that certain hours are off-limits for non-emergency communication and that the other parent's privacy should be respected in all communications.  

  • Health-related provisions in a parenting plan serve to safeguard the child's physical, emotional, and mental health. They delineate the responsibilities and rights of each parent in managing health care for the child. These provisions commonly cover aspects such as procedures when emergency medical situations arise, agreements on maintaining a balanced diet for their child, or requirements parents should meet for children with health concerns (i.e. maintaining a CPR license, carrying and knowing how to use epi-pens, etc.).  

  • Provisions concerning extracurriculars in parenting plans allow parents to discuss the types and number of activities they want their child to participate in. For instance, parents may agree that their child should not participate in more than three activities simultaneously and that parents should discuss lessons or activities that they wish to enroll their child in.  

  • Provisions concerning romantic partners are included in parenting plans to address concerns about significant others and partners being involved with your child. Parents may have provisions about who they do not wish to be left alone with or to interact with, as well as terms about introducing new partners to kids.  

  • Religious education provisions may have terms about respecting both parents and religious beliefs and agreeing to which religion the children will be taught or exposed to. For instance, parents may agree that the child can be exposed to and attend religious services concerning either or both religions. In other cases, they may agree that the child can attend private school but only a non-religious institution.  

  • Safety and high-risk activity provisions in a parenting plan serve to ensure the child's safety and regulate their involvement in activities that carry a higher risk of injury. These provisions could specify acceptable and unacceptable activities for the child, such as participation in extreme sports or other potentially dangerous pursuits. They could also outline requirements for appropriate safety gear and supervision during these activities. Additionally, these provisions could include guidelines regarding the child's exposure to potentially hazardous environments or situations in the parent's care. For instance, they might restrict the child from being around certain types of machinery, swimming pools without lifeguards, or other identified hazards.  

Experienced Child Custody Attorneys  

Child custody cases are among the most emotionally charged and complex legal battles one can face. Retaining an experienced child custody lawyer can benefit your case, as your attorney can offer objective, sound legal counsel.  

This is where The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc steps in to provide unparalleled support and expertise. For nearly two decades, our team has been representing clients in cases involving custody disputes, legal custody and physical custody issues, custody settlement negotiations, and modifications.  

What sets The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc. apart from other firms is our proven track record of success in even the most difficult of cases. We pride ourselves on our commitment to safeguarding the best interests of the children involved and achieving favorable outcomes for our clients. Our personalized approach to each case, coupled with their extensive knowledge of family law, positions them as a trusted ally in your child custody battle. 

Navigating a child custody case doesn't have to be overwhelming. Learn how our firm can help you by calling (949) 577-7935 to schedule a case consultation.