Parenting Plans Overview

Where to start:

Making a parenting plan or custody agreement
What to include in a parenting plan. Things to consider when making a plan.

Location-specific parenting plan guidelines
Every location has different parenting plan guidelines, so we research across countries, states and provinces. Choose your location to learn more.

Creating the perfect parenting agreement
The logistics of making a plan, plus information on how to make it official and assess how well it works.

Preparing a parenting plan for court
Mistakes to avoid, and what to do if the other parent won't cooperate.

Guidelines for effective parenting plans
Your parenting plan needs to include these four goals in order to be effective.

Figuring out vacations in your parenting plan
Your parenting plan should specify schedules for school breaks and vacations.

Types of plans:

Basic custody agreements
Here are the basic components of a custody agreement.

Standard custody agreements
A standard custody agreement provides parents with basic parental rights and the accepted minimum amount of time with their child.

Examining standard parenting plans
Standard parenting plans have 10 required components. But a parenting plan should be tailored to meet the child's best interests, so you may need additional elements.

Step-up parenting plans
A step-up parenting plan changes as your child ages, and ensures the noncustodial parent is fit to participate in the child's life. Find out how to create one using the Custody X Change app.

Temporary parenting plans
Information about making a temporary parenting plan and custody schedule.

Creating a child custody agreement — joint or sole
What to put in a joint or sole custody agreement, and how to make it official.

Joint custody agreements
"Joint custody" has different connotations across the country. Here's what you need to know about it, regardless of where you live.

Shared custody agreements
Sharing custody is the best way to help your child have a good relationship with both parents, so in most cases you should work with the other parent to create a shared custody agreement.

Making shared parenting plans work for your family
Know the pros and cons of a shared parenting plan.

Sole custody agreements: 7 reasons for sole custody
Children benefit from spending time with both parents. However, joint custody is not appropriate for every situation.

Creating a sole custody parenting plan
A sole custody parenting plan outlines the responsibilities of both parents, as well as the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent.

Negotiating a plan:

Negotiating a parenting plan successfully
Here are some ways to prepare for custody negotiations.

Advantages to negotiating your parenting plan
You should never accept a parenting plan that has not been customized for your children. Rather, negotiating a plan that is ideal for your family.

Preparing a custody agreement for mediation
Mediation is an opportunity to sit down with the other parent and work through issues. Make it as productive as possible by bringing a custody agreement to propose.

Insight into preparing a parenting plan for mediation
You must seriously consider preparing a parenting plan for mediation so that you can get your opinions about raising your children into the decision-making process.

Preparing a sample parenting plan for mediation
Although mediation takes place outside of the courtroom, you should still prepare a parenting plan. Here's why.

Modifying and enforcing a plan:

Should you ever revisit your parenting plan?
Six family law experts weigh in on amending your parenting plan.

Modifying your parenting plan effectively
You are allowed to modify a parenting plan once it is approved in family court as long as you can show that the current plan is no longer meeting your children's needs.

How to handle a co-parent who is sabotaging your parenting plan
Your parenting plan is non-negotiable after the court has approved it, but that doesn't mean both parents will abide by it. Learn how to deal with an unsatisfied parent's attempts to neglect the plan.