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Considerations about physical, legal custody in parenting plans

A parenting plan is expected to help a family in California after a divorce occurs, and this custody and visitation agreement is intended to prevent conflict and give children and parents stability. The parenting plan lists each parent's decision-making abilities and also outlines a schedule.

When parents form an agreement about time-sharing, it will normally contain a schedule that outlines physical custody rights and specifies when each parent has access to a child. This includes where a child resides during the school year and for vacations and holidays, and each parent could also be in charge of different activities like sporting events or clubs. The arrangement that parents make is intended to help a child or children because the parenting plan offers consistency and should prevent fights from occurring due to child custody issues.

There are many reasons that might lead to one parent receiving more time with a child than the other parent, but both parents can still be involved in a child's life and possess decision-making abilities. A parent with physical custody can make day-to-day decisions about a child's life, but both parents must be involved in major aspects of a child's life when sharing legal custody. This means decisions about things like a child's education, religion, health and overall welfare would be made by both parents.

It is often best when parents can form a parenting plan together without needing court intervention because this usually grants more flexibility, and parents are often the ones most familiar with a child's needs. This can be important as unexpected situations may occur that require leeway. For example, it may be better for a sick child to stay in one place even if a schedule dictates that the other parent normally would have the child during a portion of that period.

Source: Judicial Council of California, "Parenting Plans", December 30, 2014

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Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP

Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
6542 Lonetree Boulevard
Rocklin, CA 95765

Phone: 916-780-0848 
Fax: 916-780-0787

Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP
850 Iron Point Road, Suite 113A
Folsom, CA 95630

Phone: 916-365-4941 
Fax: 916-780-0787

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