Getting the Best Child Custody Order

What is the child custody order?

The child custody order is made when your parenting plan is accepted by the court. After the judge approves your plan, it becomes a court order that both parents are legally obligated to follow.

A parenting plan that is made into a custody order is recognized by the court and the state. This means that the court and state can be involved if the parenting plan isn't followed.

If you don't submit your parenting plan to the court, the state can't help you if the other parent doesn't follow the plan.

How do I get the custody order I want?

To get the custody order you want, you must submit the parenting plan you want to the court so it can be approved by the judge.

If you and the other parent are able to agree on the plan, the court will generally just approve it. This is probably the best way to make sure that you like the plan and the custody order.

If you and the other parent are not able to agree, the judge will determine your custody order. You will need to prepare a parenting plan and explain to the judge how it benefits your child. If the court finds that your plan is good for your child, it will accept your plan as the custody order.

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You can use Custody X Change to:

  • Negotiate a parenting plan with the other parent
  • Work with your lawyer to come up with a plan you like
  • Prepare sample plans for mediation
  • Make a parenting plan to present in court

How do I make the parenting plan that becomes my custody order?

You can write your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you want to easily make your parenting plan for your custody order, you can use the Custody X Change software.

You parenting plan should have:

  • A parenting time schedule
  • Information about the care of your child
  • Provisions for how you and the other parent will make the plan work
  • Any additional information you want to include

Creating your plan with Custody X Change allows you to:

  • Make a parenting time schedule with holidays, vacation time, and special events
  • Add important provisions and stipulations to your agreement
  • Calculate your visitation timeshare calculation for your child support calculation
  • Print documents including a calendar of the custody schedule, a written report of the schedule, a list of the provisions, and a detailed timeshare report
  • Export all of the documents to Word, PDF, and Excel
  • Sync your custody calendar to your iPhone, Android, Outlook, Google Calendar, Windows Live, etc.

What happens if the custody order isn't followed?

If a parent violates the custody order, the other parent can file a motion for contempt of court.

When a motion for contempt of court is filed, you will return to court and the parent who filed must show the judge how the order was disobeyed.

If the judge finds that the custody order has been violated, the judge will determine the penalty. The parent who disobeys the order can be fined or ordered to do something to make up the damages.

For example, if you create a visitation schedule and it is accepted as the custody order and the other parent denies you visitation, you can file a motion for contempt of court. When the judge makes a ruling, the other parent may be ordered to give you more visitation to make up for the lost visitation, or the other parent may be fined or given a warning.

Custody X Change has an actual-time tracking and journaling feature that lets you track actual parenting time and keep a custody and visitation journal. You can print the documents that show how the plan isn't being followed and use them as evidence.

How do I change the custody order?

Changing your custody order is called making a child custody modification.

There are two types of changes to make to your custody order: big and small changes.

If you are making a small change, you should talk to the other parent and try to agree on the change. For example, if you only need to make some small changes to visitation, you should try to work it out.

If you are making a big change, you should also approach the other parent. If you and the other parent agree on the changes you can make a new parenting plan and file it with the court.

When the other parent doesn't agree to your changes, you can file a motion to change the order. You will then go back to court and you will need to show how circumstances have changed and prove that your change to the plan is in the best interest of the child.

You can use Custody X Change to change your custody order by making your new parenting plan with the software or using the actual-time tracking and journaling features to show how the current plan isn't working.

With the software, you can track actual parenting time and print reports that show the difference between scheduled and actual time. This can help you get a change to the parenting time schedule.

You can also use the software to keep a custody journal where you write notes about parenting time. You can then use your notes to show the court how the circumstances have changed.

Do I need to track my parenting time once the order is in place?

After you have your custody order, you may want to track your parenting time to make sure that the order is being followed. You can use Custody X Change to track your time and see the difference between scheduled parenting time and actual time.

You will probably also want to keep a custody and visitation journal where you write notes about what happens during your parenting time. This can help you keep track of your custody situation, and it will give you evidence should you need to make a custody modification.

The easiest way to make a parenting plan

Creating a parenting plan on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to address all possible situations, while using airtight legal language.

Use technology to take the guesswork out of the equation. The Custody X Change app walks you through each step of creating a plan.

The result will be a professional document that demonstrates your competence as a parent and secures your child's future.

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

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

Birth to 18 months

18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court


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