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What should you include in a parenting plan?

Many couples in Phoenix, Arizona, who are not living together may decide to resolve their custody and visitation issues by agreement and submit an agreed parenting plan to the court. Because this parenting plan will become a binding court order once a judge approves it, it is important for fathers who want to have a relationship with their children to make sure it addresses all critical topics.

There are several issues a good parenting plan should address, and many of the issues have a direct bearing on fathers' rights, particularly with respect to fathers who are not acting as their children's primary caregiver. For instance, a parenting plan should spell out what happens should either parent need to move, as this often leads to custody disputes down the road. This is true even though Arizona law has a statute on the books covering parental relocation.

Another issue a parenting plan should address, if both parents live close to each other, is the right of first refusal. The right of first refusal means that if a custodial parent needs childcare, that parent will first ask the children's other parent if that parent would like some extra time with the kids.

Finally, a father is going to want to include provisions in the parenting plan pertaining to his access to medical and other information about his children, as well as when and to what extent he has the right to share in decision-making about the children's future. A separate provision covering what the parents will do if they disagree is also a good idea.

These are just some suggestions about what a parenting plan should include. The details of a parenting plan that is tailored to a person's particular circumstances can be discussed with an experienced family law attorney.

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