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How to work with your attorney while creating a parenting plan

Divorcing California residents -- who want to devise the best child custody arrangements for themselves and their children -- may want to work with an experienced family law attorney during the divorce process. Here are a few things parents may want to keep in mind to get the most out of their attorney-client relationship in terms of developing a fair and suitable child custody agreement with their ex-spouses:

Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm parenting plan schedule ideas, and share them with your attorney.

Ask about parenting provisions: Ask about the various parenting provisions and other guidelines you can include in your parenting agreement.

Write it down: Write down various examples of your ideal parenting plan to illustrate exactly what you want. Try writing out as much of the plan as you can on your own.

Evaluate "actual" parenting time: Determine whether the actual time you spend with your children is equal in your parenting plan. For example, weekend days should be considered more valuable in your parenting plan as it will allow for more time spent with your children.

Keep a parenting journal: Maintain a parenting journal that your attorney can use as evidence of your parental contribution in court if necessary.

Look for problems: Take notes on problems, issues and concerns you may have with regard to your proposed parenting plan.

Participate, participate, participate: Play an active role in each step of your parenting plan creation process to ensure that your attorney is representing your wishes as accurately as possible.

Ask questions: Never be shy to ask questions. Your attorney is there to explain the ins and outs of the laws to you, so that you can make the most appropriate decisions possible.

Understand your attorney fee agreement: Make sure you understand the fee arrangement you've agreed to with your attorney so that you can manage your costs and budget accordingly.

Your family law attorney is there to help you and defend your parenting rights at every stage of your divorce. Make the most of this relationship by following the above advice and it will help you create a fair parenting plan that reflects your wishes for you and your family.

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