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How to construct a viable parenting plan

Having a thorough plan can make it easier for parents in California and elsewhere to raise their children after a divorce or separation. The plan should prioritize the needs of the children over what may be easier or more convenient for the parents. It should also be flexible enough to account for any scheduling or other changes that occur after it is agreed upon.

For instance, if a child starts school or takes up a new activity, the plan should account for that. Both parents should strive to create a similar environment for the child in both of their households. This means expecting homework to be done at the same time or making sure that the child has a similar bedtime regardless of which parent he or she is with. Parents shouldn't assume that future conditions can always be met.

For instance, a change in the housing market may make it impossible to sell a home by a certain date. This may make it impossible for a parent to move closer to the child or into a desirable school district by a predetermined deadline. After a plan is created, it should be put on a probation period of up to four weeks. Once this period is over, parents can make changes to the plan as needed to better serve the child's best interests.

When it comes to resolving child custody and visitation issues, parents will ideally do whatever it takes to make things easier on their children. This may mean granting custody to the parent who lives closer to a good school or extended family members. Parents may also want to take into consideration their financial situation when deciding how to determine custody or visitation rights. If necessary, a judge may create a child custody order.

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