Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Child Custody and Divorce Lawyer in Los Angeles

PARENTING PLANS 101. Where do we start?

What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan, also called a custody and visitation agreement,’ is the parents’ written agreement

  • Time: a schedule for when the children will be with each parent
  • Decision-making: how the parents will make decisions about the health, education and welfare of
    the child.

With a written plan, the parents and your children will know what to expect and will have fewer conflicts
in your shared parenting time.

Your parenting plan becomes a court order after it is signed by both parents, signed by the judge, and
filed with the court.

General suggestions for your Parenting Plan
Parents need to make a parenting plan that is in the best interest of your child.  When both parents are
active in their kids’ lives and do not fight over custody and visitation schedules, the children will usually
do much better. Change is hard for children.
Some suggestions:

  • Meet your child's basic needs for:
  • Love, protection, and guidance,
  • A healthy diet,
  • Good medical care, and
  • Enough rest.
  • Consider your child's age, personality, experiences, and ability. Every child is different. Adjust
    your plan to your child, NOT your child to your plan.
  • Give your child regular, consistent times with each of you for day-to-day care, overnights,
    activities, schoolwork, vacations, and holidays. Use a calendar to help you.
  • Give your plan enough detail so it's easy to understand and enforce.
  • Give your child a sense of security and a reliable routine.

How do we talk to each other?
How you talk to each other and to your children can make a big difference. Try to think about the other
parent as a business partner. Acting "businesslike" might help get your mind off the pain and stress so
you can focus better on your children.
Here are some tips:

  • Be polite, just like you would be at work.
  • Stay on the subject. Focus on doing what is best for your child.
  • Control your emotions, just like you would do at work.
  • Be clear and specific when you talk to the other parent. Write things down and keep businesslike
    records of important agreements.
  • Keep your promises. Your children need to be able to trust and rely on you. This is very
    important right now.
  • Watch the words you use when you talk about divorce.

INSTEAD OF SAYING: wife, husband, ex-wife, ex-husband, my "ex"
TRY SAYING: children's mother, children's father

INSTEAD OF SAYING: has visitation with         TRY SAYING: stays with, comes over

INSTEAD OF SAYING: custody and visitation agreement         TRY SAYING: parenting plan

Additional articles on Child Custody:

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell to discuss your
custody issues.
Please call to make an appointment now 310.247.9913.


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Parenting Plans 101
Creating a parenting plan
Model Parenting Plans
children's preferences in custody disputes
Custody Mediation
Child Custody Evaluation
Move Aways
parenting plan modification
Do's and Don'ts in Child Custody
parenting after separation
Communication during custody
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Breastfeeding young children custody
Toddlers and Custody Transitions
kids and the law in california guide for parents
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