Parenting Plan Checklist

A parenting plan is an essential part of co-parenting that lays out how parents will raise their child. You'll need a parenting plan for negotiations with the other parent, for mediation and for court.

The best parenting plans are very detailed to account for every potential point of contention.

A parenting plan checklist helps you account for required provisions (like the type of custody) as well as optional ones. You can ignore suggestions that don't apply to your situation.

The court ultimately decides the final terms of your parenting plan, which must be in the best interest of the child. Your proposals guide the court on what terms to include.

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a professional-quality parenting plan.

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1. Choose a parenting schedule

2. Decide who's allowed to make decisions for the child

  • Will parents have joint legal custody or will one parent have sole legal custody?
  • If you have joint legal custody, will you split decision-making responsibilities? (e.g., put one parent in charge of educational decisions and the other in charge of medical decisions?)

3. Figure out how the child will travel between homes

  • Will exchanges happen in a public place?
  • Are parents allowed to drop the child off at the front door?
  • Are supervised exchanges needed?
  • How will parents transport the child to and from visits?
  • If you have a long-distance parenting situation, will the child travel by plane, train, bus, etc.? Must they have an escort? Who will cover the associated costs?

4. Include details about communication

5. State your rules for the involvement of third parties

  • Are grandparents or aunts or uncles allowed to have regular visits with the child?
  • Is there anyone you don't want the child to have contact with?
  • If the child has half-siblings, how will you support those relationships?
  • How will you handle a parent's new partner? Must the other parent meet the partner before the child does? Can the partner stay overnight when the child is present?

6. Determine how you'll divide child-related expenses

  • How will parents split costs not covered by child support: tuition, extraordinary medical expenses, etc.?
  • What are the acceptable payment methods?
  • What happens if a parent doesn't pay their share? Does the owed payment gain interest?

7. Plan for unexpected schedule changes

  • What happens when a parent is late for a visit?
  • What happens when a parent misses a visit? Will you allow make-up time?

8. Account for special circumstances

  • If a parent is in the military or has another job that requires them to be away for significant periods, what happens to their parenting time while they're away?

  • If there's been family violence, will the victim need to have their address concealed from the other parent? Will supervised visitation be necessary? Can the other parent know where the child goes to school?
  • If your child has special needs, can they go between two homes? Do they need to bring any special equipment?
  • If a parent has a mental illness or substance abuse issues, must they receive treatment in order to have visits with the child?

9. Specify your childcare arrangements

  • How will you choose a childcare provider?
  • Who's responsible for taking the child to and from daycare?
  • If a parent will be absent for a portion of their parenting time, must they ask the other parent to watch the kids before hiring a babysitter?

10. Detail how you'll handle the child's belongings

  • Will the child keep clothing in each parent's home so they don't have to pack for every visit?
  • Can items one parent bought be kept at the other parent's home?
  • If an item a parent bought goes missing during the other parent's time, who's responsible for replacing it?

11. Address out of area travel with the child

12. Cover the child's medical needs

  • Who can make decisions about vaccinations and other medical issues?
  • How soon after a child falls ill must parents tell one another?
  • Should both parents have access to the child's medical records?

13. Detail education arrangements

  • Which school will the child attend?
  • Who can drop off and pick up the kids from school?
  • Who attends parent-teacher conferences?
  • Under what circumstances is the child allowed to be absent from school?
  • Does the child need tutoring?

14. Cover any religious obligations

  • Will the child be raised in a specific faith?
  • If one parent doesn't practice, will the child still attend religious gatherings when they're with that parent?

15. If your family is multilingual, set language rules

  • What languages will you speak in the home?
  • Will the child take any language lessons?

16. Cover requirements when a parent wants to relocate

  • How much advance notice must parents give?
  • Will you place any limits on how far parents can move?
  • Must both parents ask for permission to move or just the custodial parent?

17. Detail the child's diet

  • Does the child need to follow a special diet?

18. Lay down the rules for disciplining the child

  • What time is the child's curfew, and how will it change in the future?
  • What are the repercussions for not following parents' rules?
  • How will parents address frequent disobedience?

19. Address who can claim the child on taxes

  • Will parents take turns claiming the child on taxes?
  • What happens if the parent who wasn't supposed to claim the child claims them? Must they pay the money they receive for the child to the other parent? Do they lose the privilege of claiming the child for the next couple of tax years?

20. Specify what happens if a parent disobeys the parenting plan

  • Will you go to court or try an alternate dispute resolution method if one parent continually fails to follow the order?
  • What are the repercussions for not following the order (e.g., reduced visitation)?

21. State how often you'll revise the parenting plan

  • How will you go about making changes to the parenting plan?
  • Will you schedule check-ins to see how well the plan is working?
  • Will your plan change as your child ages?

The easiest way to make a parenting plan

Creating a parenting plan on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to be sure to use airtight legal language and can't omit any required information.

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

The result is 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.

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a professional-quality parenting plan.

Make My Parenting Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a professional-quality parenting plan.

Make My Plan

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a professional-quality parenting plan.

Make My Parenting Plan Now

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