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What is a parenting plan?

One of the issues critics of the shared parenting movement have is that rather than focus on what is in the child's best interests, the focus moves on to how to treat parents equally and this is not always best for the children. Proponents of it, however, claim that having equal access to both parents is in the best interests of children, but not all families are the same. Louisiana residents going through a divorce know their individual circumstances better and may want to work out another child custody arrangement.

Rather than leave the decision up to the judge, divorcing parents can take the matter into their hands and craft a parenting plan for child custody. These guidelines can be whatever the parents want it to be-they can allocate parenting time, decision making authority for each child and issue and can even spell out dispute resolution options when child custody disputes invariably arise.

A parenting plan that both parties work out together gives them the flexibility to keep their lifestyles, needs and expectations in mind when outlining their responsibilities and duties in their parenting plan. Frequent and meaningful contact can be maintained and parents know they have a dispute resolution mechanism should they need one. It can be flexible, allowing parents to change it as children develop emotionally and physically. This can be done without going to court as this is not a court order.

A detailed plan can outline the child's residential, physical and emotional care at various ages throughout the child's life. Even though some parents might want to engage in the negotiating and drafting themselves, it is highly beneficial to have a working knowledge of the applicable family law in such situations to ensure the document can hold up in court.

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