Interstate Parenting Plans and Visitation Schedules

State jurisdiction over parenting plans

You must follow state custody guidelines and laws when you make your parenting plan. When parents live in different states, one of the states will have jurisdiction over the custody arrangements.

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If you and the other parent agree on which state to file your parenting plan in, you should follow the guidelines of that state as you make your plan and custody schedule.

If you and the other parent do not agree on which state has jurisdiction over your custody arrangements, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines which state has jurisdiction.

The UCCJEA says that a state court can decide custody arrangements only when at least one of the following is true:

  • The child has lived in the state for at least six months, or the child had lived in the state until a parent recently moved them.
  • The child has significant connections with people in the state, like relatives, friends and teachers.
  • The child is in the state because there is fear of abuse, neglect or abandonment if in a different state.
  • No state can meet any of the criteria above.

Only one state can issue a custody judgment. If more than one state meets the above criteria, the state that makes (or has already made) the first custody decision will have jurisdiction. Other states will enforce that decision.

You cannot move your child to a different state to give that state jurisdiction over your custody case. If you do this, you will be denied custody.

Creating interstate parenting plans and visitation schedules

Once you've determined which state has jurisdiction over your custody arrangements, you can make your parenting plan and visitation schedule.

When you and your child's other parent live in different states but still relatively close, you just need a standard parenting plan, and you have many options for your visitation schedule.

When your child must travel a long distance between parents (perhaps by plane), you need a long distance parenting plan. It should include information about how the child will travel, how the parents will pay for travel, terms for visiting the child at home, etc.

In a long distance visitation schedule, the child lives with one parent and visits the other. The amount of visitation depends on the family's situation and the needs of the child.

Relocating after a plan is in place

When a family has a parenting plan in place but one parent moves a long distance or to a new state, the parents must make a long-distance plan.

If you are the custodial parent and you are relocating, you need to check the terms of your current plan to see where you're allowed to move the child. If the noncustodial parent does not want you to move, you may have to go to court to sort it out.

The easiest way to make an interstate parenting plan

Creating a parenting plan can feel overwhelming, especially when parents are in different states.

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

In the app, choose from more than 140 popular parenting provisions in more than 25 categories, all written in standardized legal language that's accepted across state borders.

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

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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


Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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