One of the most important features of developing a parenting plan is turning that arrangement into a child custody order.
1. Predictable and consistent visitation plan.
The best parenting plans are the ones that have been created by the parents ,tailored to their families needs as well as designed to operate in a predictable way. Regular and systematic time share scheduling makes it easier on the parents to follow the plan and predictable for the children on knowing when they will be with each parent.
2. The legal document is an enforceable order.
A parenting plan that has been ordered by the court is one that is enforceable by a judge.
If you had prior encounters with your ex that consist of unpredictable pick up and delivery times, cancellations of special events and holiday times creating interruptions in your parenting contact, enforceable orders act as a remedy to address these problems. With specific dates times and places in your order, you can seek the assistance of the police on enforcing the order. If you Ex failed to appear with the children when they were supposed to, contacting the police department and having them intervene can rectify the problem. The police can insist that the parent comply with the order or face the likely consequences that the offending parent will have to answer to the judge for this offense.
3. Preventing confusion if there is a new adult relationship or other children.
The beauty of our expanded sense of 21st-century family systems is that they involve a broader family definition and new relationships. These complex family systems can also be problematic when we are dealing with their influences on a parenting plan. The introduction of a new spouse or a new significant other and/ or their children could directly impact the design of a parenting time share.
While it’s not possible to anticipate every single shift in family events, careful planning with some foresight may alleviate future problems between you and your ex. If there is a new spouse, significant other or other children to consider, it may be a good idea to include language dealing with those issues in your court order. For example, you may wish to indicate that there would be limits on crossover visitation or an expansion of the blended family events if that is your desire.
The court supports contact between step-siblings since it is a court view that this contact is in the child’s best interests.
4. Establishing court orders on where the children reside and limitations on if they can move.
With the economy improving, there are more employed considering a move to different regions to enhance their employability. A determination of where the children should reside in those circumstances would be best set out in a parenting court order to avoid custody and visitation problems if one or both parents elect to move. If you are the parent desiring to move, you would specify the right to move in an order thereby avoiding a future conflict. If you are the parent that would like the children to stay in their home state, specific language in the order preventing the move would be an important feature.
5 . Accountability.
When you have specific measurable court orders where a parent is supposed to do or not do certain things, you create an atmosphere of accountability. If a parent is violating specific orders, you can return to court and address those problems and come up with solutions that can best serve your family’s needs.
Parenting in intact family systems is complicated enough. Trying to create parenting plans in blended families and in different households presents special needs that can best be served by specific and easy to understand court orders.
About the Author:
A family law attorney for over 30 years, Arlene D. Kock based in San Ramon, CA, has extensive expertise in this specialized field. Arlene possess an in-depth understanding of California law, which emphasizes the development of parenting plans in family law cases that involve children, handling cases in all Northern California jurisdictions. Arlene is also a member of the LawGuru Attorney Network.