Orange County Parenting Plan Mediation Lawyer
Representing Parents in LA County, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara
Parenting plans play an important role in life after divorce, as they determine how you will continue parenting your child after separating with your spouse. Kevin B. Gibbs is an experienced and trustworthy lawyer who can provide you the legal guidance you need to address your goals and needs with your spouse, and he can also help you prepare for your mediation sessions where you will design your parenting plan with your spouse to submit for the court’s approval.
Preparing Your Parenting Plan
Child custody and parenting time are often the most disputed family law issues. Litigation can drag on for months or even years with the costs running into the tens of thousands of dollars, and it is seldom that either party is ever completely satisfied with the outcome after litigation is complete. The main reason for this could be that a judge’s sole decision may not appropriately address each parent’s needs and goals. After all, it is often the two parents themselves who are most informed about their and their child’s interests. As a result, mediation is a more favorable option for negotiation rather than defaulting to a court decision, as mediation would allow both parents to discuss between themselves their interests and outline a plan suitable for themselves.
An experienced attorney like Kevin B. Gibbs can better help parents prepare for their mediation discussion and ensure they bring to the table all their important goals for parenting time. Attorney Gibbs can guide parents to appropriately prepare their points of discussion and align with California’s presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after divorce. In fact, California courts consider the best parenting schedules to be those that insure frequent and continuing contact between the children and both parents. By mediating these important issues before pursuing litigation, both parents will be in more control of the terms and conditions under which they will share the custody of their children. The parents will have the authority to design their own parenting plan schedule in mediation, so it is best to work with a mediation attorney to prepare for these sessions.
Orange County’s Parenting Plan Guidelines
Orange County has its own parenting plan guidelines and templates for parents to work with. As mentioned above, the main objective is to honor the best interests of the child and to help parents tailor realistic custody plans. Note that in the event the parents are unable to agree to a parenting plan in mediation, the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child.
Some of the most important factors to consider when developing a parenting plan are:
- the child’s age, gender, and stage of development;
- the child’s emotional, social, and educational needs;
- the child’s health, welfare, and safety;
- the parents’ level of communication and cooperation;
- each parent’s parenting ability and psychological adjustment;
- the quality of the parent-child relationships;
- parental support systems;
- cultural factors.
A parenting plan should specify both legal and physical custody, where legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child related to health, education, and welfare, and physical custody refers to where the child will primarily reside. Legal and physical custody can be joint or sole.
Be aware that certain family situations may impact the outcome of a parenting plan decision. Specifically, a court may consider the following in limiting parenting time:
- child abuse or neglect;
- serious mental or emotional disorders;
- drug/alcohol abuse or criminal activity;
- domestic violence;
- continuous levels of very intense parental conflict.
When choosing a parenting plan, parents should consider the child’s relationship with each parent. If a parent has never been a part of a child’s life or has not had contact with the child for an extended period, the court will likely order visitation that starts slowly and gradually increases as the child adjusts and feels comfortable.
For more specific guidelines and templates to design an appropriate parenting plan in mediation for the court’s approval, including how to schedule holiday breaks and age breakdowns, visit.
Contact Kevin B. Gibbs for Legal Support
If you intend to pursue mediation to resolve disputes involving custody and visitation, it is advisable to work with an experienced parenting plan mediation lawyer to prepare for your mediation sessions. When it comes to parenting plans, it is important to know how to approach your discussions with your spouse and what a California court expects of a proposed plan. Kevin B. Gibbs can take a look at your situation and help you prepare for a productive mediation session to design your parenting schedule in California.