Texas Parenting Plan and Agreement Guidelines

Parenting plans address how issues involving children — such as conservatorship, possession and child support — will be handled following a family law case. They become legally enforceable when a judge includes them in a court order.

Often, each party in a suit over child conservatorship, possession and access is required to present a proposed parenting plan to the court. If it's not required, you may still want to present a plan as evidence. You will also need a plan if you settle your case, and you can bring one to mediation or other negotiations to propose to the other parent.

Custody X Change is software that creates customizable parenting plans and possession schedules.

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If the parties sbumit an agreed-upon plan to the court, a judge will make it a court order, unless it would be harmful to the child. However, the court may look more scrupulously at agreements reached without involvement from neutral professionals (such as mediators, arbitrators or collaborative law teams.)

Your attorney will help you draft a plan, or you can use Custody X Change to make a plan on your own.

Information required in a Texas parenting plan

Your parenting plan should have the names of all children in the case near the top of the document. It should include anything you requested in your initial filing and want to present to the court at trial.

The plan must also specify:

  • If each parent will be a managing conservator or a possessory conservator (One to two managing conservators are required.)
  • How parents will share or divide decision-making rights and responsibilities
  • How parents will share or divide rights and responsibilities regarding the physical care, support and education of the child
  • Which parent has the right to choose the child’s main residence (nicknamed the "custodial conservator"), and whether or not the residence must be within a certain area (If parents share this right, you must a designate an area within which both will live.)
  • A possession and access schedule explaining when the child will be with each conservator
  • If either parent will pay child support, and how much
  • How the conservators will pay the child’s medical and dental costs
  • Provisions to minimize disruptions to the child's education, routine and friendships

The Custody X Change app can walk you through important parental rights and responsibilities by category, so you’re sure not to miss anything.

Standard provisions in a parenting plan

The Texas standard possession order includes the following provisions. You can choose whether to include any of them in the plan you create.

  • A conservator must notify the other when he or she is unable to take possession of the child as planned.
  • Each conservator may designate a competent adult to pick up and return the child on their behalf.
  • Each conservator must return the child with the personal items the child arrived with.
  • If a conservator’s time with a child ends when school begins, and the child will miss school that day, he or she must immediately notify the school and the other conservator.
  • When the non-custodial conservator begins time with the child, he or she will pick up the child from school or from the custodial conservator’s home.

The standard possession order also includes one of the following:

  • When the custodial conservator’s possession time begins, he or she will pick up the child from school or from the non-custodial conservator’s home.
  • When the custodial conservator’s possession time begins, the non-custodial conservator will drop the child off at school or the custodial conservator’s home. If the custodial conservator moves to a new county, he or she will instead pick the child up from school or from the non-custodial conservator’s home.

Note: The standard possession order (SPO) uses different terminology than above; it uses "managing conservator" instead of "custodial conservator" and "possessory conservator" in place of "non-custodial conservator." Although the SPO terms can be confusing, some judges prefer them if you write your own possession order.

Additional provisions to consider

You may also want to include some of these common parenting plan provisions. Use as much detail as possible to avoid conflict or confusion.

Include any other provisions important to your family, and try to address any possible conflicts that could arise. Sign up for Custody X Change to choose from common provisions in 27 categories.

Factors the court considers when deciding on a plan

To determine whether a parenting plan is in the best interest of a child, the court will consider many factors, some of which are listed below. Take them into account when making your plan.

  • The preferences of both parents
  • The preferences of the child, if he or she is over 12 years old
  • The history of the care of the child
  • Which parent has served as the child's primary caregiver
  • The relationships between the child and each parent
  • The physical, mental and emotional health of the child
  • If the child has any special needs, and how well each parent can meet those needs
  • Each parent's capacity to perform parental responsibilities
  • Each parent's capacity to raise the child in a safe, stable, loving environment
  • Each parent's capacity to provide the child with clothing, food, shelter, etc.
  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community
  • If the child has any siblings or close relationships with other family members
  • Other people living in the child's home who may have a harmful effect on the child
  • If either parent has committed domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, substance abuse or any other act that could endanger the child
The easiest way to make a parenting plan

When you’re writing a parenting plan, it’s critical you use airtight language that leaves no room for interpretation. You must also be careful not to omit any information required by the court.

If you hire a lawyer or mediator, he or she will write up the plan and ensure it meets the court’s requirements.

If you’re writing your own plan, use technology to take the guesswork out of the equation. The Custody X Change app will walk you through each step of creating a comprehensive parenting plan.

The result will be a professional document that demonstrates your competence as a parent from the first glance. This document can be edited in the app or in Microsoft Word, in case your court has unique requirements.

The easiest and most reliable way to make a parenting plan is with Custody X Change.

Custody X Change is software that creates customizable parenting plans and possession schedules.

Make My Texas Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that creates customizable parenting plans and possession schedules.

Make My Plan