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WHY IS A PARENTING PLAN SO IMPORTANT IN MY CHILD CUSTODY CASE?

Issues surrounding how much time each parent gets to spend with their children are some of the main sources of contention between divorced spouses who also share children together. This could be problematic for you if you currently don’t get along with your ex-spouse. Arizona considers the involvement of both parents vital to the proper development of children. In fact, unless there are some special circumstances like domestic abuse, family courts throughout Arizona will go to great lengths to see that both parents are allowed to maintain consistent and healthy relationships with their children. That’s because many adult children of divorce have reported that the loss of contact with their parent, and the bickering between both parents were some of the most painful aspects of their parents’ divorce.

That’s also why having an attorney help you with a parenting plan can be so important. For example, an attorney can act as a buffer between you and your ex-spouse; thus reducing the chances for arguments. Negotiating through an attorney can also help you develop a time-sharing arrangement with your ex-spouse that is geared towards allowing you to have sufficient opportunities to help nurture your child’s social, academic and overall emotional development.

Another reason why parenting plans are important is because they also contain a statement about the status of your legal custody arrangement with your child. Legal custody is essentially the right to make major decisions on behalf of your child. Having legal custody enables you to decide matters involving health care, education and even decisions regarding which faith your child should observe. Arizona family courts can award joint or sole legal custody to parents depending on many factors. Having your legal custody status spelled out in your parenting plan can make that document very useful in situations where caregivers and other officials may require proof of your legal authority.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all of the benefits of having a parenting plan. That’s why a consultation with a family law attorney regarding the creation of a parenting plan may be a good first step toward cementing a solid future with your child.

Source: Arizona Courts.gov, “Planning for Parenting Time; Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart,” accessed July 22, 2015

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