California requires parents to develop a parenting plan, also known as a “custody and visitation agreement” or a “time-share plan.” A parenting plan is essentially a written agreement between parents detailing how much time the children will spend with each parent and a plan for making important decisions in the future about the child’s welfare and education. A comprehensive parenting plan includes many factors. Its purpose is to ensure stability in the present, as well as to eliminate uncertainty in the future. Some of the most important factors to include in your parenting plan are: 1. Who will the children live with? 2. When will the children visit with the other parent? 3. Which holidays are observed by each parent, and which holidays will the children observe with each? 4. How will parents split time with the children during mutually observed holidays? 5. How will parents split time with the children on the children’s birthdays? 6. How will parents split time with the children on the parents’ birthdays? 7. Where will the children be exchanged from one parent to the other for various periods, e.g. regular visitation periods, holidays, birthdays? 8. Who will be responsible for transporting the children between parents’ homes or an alternate exchange location, and when? 9. How will car seat requirements be met, if any? 10. How will visitation schedule changes be addressed, e.g., parents’ work schedule conflicts, or when the children’s extra-curricular activities conflict with visitation,etc.? 11. How will the parents share school vacations, and who will be responsible for the costs of child care during school vacations, if necessary? 12. How will the parents choose and share the cost of regular child care, if needed? 13. Will the other parent will have ‘first right of refusal’ if a babysitter is needed? 14. How will the parents handle the children having contact with extended family? 15. How will the parents handle the children having contact with a parent’s friends or romantic partners? 16. What if a parent needs to relocate for work or other reasons? These factors are generally considered essential to every parenting plan in California. There are additional factors that you may want to consider as well, and we plan to address those in an upcoming article. Check back soon to learn more about constructing the ideal parenting plan. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can assist you in fighting for your rights and those of your children in a visitation or custody dispute in California. Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas. If you are a parent with a visitation or custody issue, call us today to learn more about how we can help. Call (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area, or contact us online.