How to Make a Parenting Plan

Husband and wife making a parenting plan

If you’re a parent working out child custody, you’ll need to create a parenting plan. While parents can tailor the parenting plan to meet their family’s needs as long as the provisions are in the child’s best interest, some things are standard. Here, we list ten items that must be included in your parenting plan.

  • Legal and physical custody must be stated. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, and the child lives with the person who has physical custody. Arrangements for custody can vary, and parents may share both types of custody, but all arrangements must be clearly stated.
  • The plan must specifically state routine parenting time. This details when and how the child will go between households. It must include specific times, transportation, and how the parents will communicate with each other and work out logistics. It can provide for flexibility if everyone agrees.
  • Holiday parenting time must be specified. Annual holidays must be listed, along with a schedule of whom the child will spend the holiday each year. Note whether holiday parenting time will take precedence over routine holiday time, and when the holiday parenting time begins and ends.
  • Vacation parenting time must be detailed for both parents. Typically, this means each parent has two weeks of vacation parenting each year. You can decide on more or fewer vacation times, however.
  • Medical and school records need to be included in your plan. There must be a provision stating that each parent’s name will appear on medical and school records and each parent will have access.
  • Your plan must provide for school attendance. Each parent must agree to ensure regular and continuous school attendance and progress for school-aged children.
  • You must include details about day-to-day decisions. Details must be included about how decisions will be made, and the decisions must be consistent with decisions made by the person with legal custody.
  • Provisions must be made to maximize safety. Safety must be assured for all parties, particularly if child abuse or neglect, intimate partner abuse, parental conflict, or criminal activity is involved.
  • The plan should have a remediation requirement. This means both parents agree to remediate if either parent wants modifications.
  • You must address the relocation of a parent. The plan should indicate that each parent agrees to provide the other with a change of address information unless there are safety concerns.

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