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What should parenting plans in Arizona include?

Sometimes, despite all of the disagreements that lead to their decision to divorce, parents in Arizona can work together well enough to agree to a parenting plan out of court. However, there are other times when the child's parents have differing views on child custody and cannot agree to a parenting plan.

Under Arizona law, if parents cannot agree to a parenting plan, they each must submit one to the court. Then, consistent with the best interests of the child standard, the court will establish a parenting plan. This parenting plan will allow parents to share the ability to make legal decisions regarding their child and the parenting plan will maximize to the extent possible each parent's parenting time.

Parenting plans will include a variety of factors. For example, a parenting plan will designate whether legal decision making will be jointly held by both parents or solely held by one parent. A parenting plan will also outline each parent's rights and duties to care for the child and also for making choices on behalf of the child with regards to where the child will go to school, the child's medical care and what religion the child will practice.

A parenting plan will include a parenting time schedule that is practical for both parents and that accounts for vacations and holidays. Keep in mind that just because parents share legal decision-making rights does not mean they will each necessarily have an equal amount of parenting time. A parenting plan will outline how the exchange of the child will take place, including where it will take place and which party is responsible for transporting the child there. A parenting plan will also include a procedure for parents to follow if one parent wants to move away with the child or if there are disagreements about how the plan is being followed.

In addition, a parenting plan will include provisions outlining how the plan will be reviewed periodically by each parent. Also, a parenting plan will include a procedure that each parent will follow with regards to communications between themselves about the child. This will include how the parents will communicate with each other and how often.

In the end, it is important for parents to follow their parenting plan. Doing so provides their child with the stability needed to grow and thrive following a divorce.

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