Temporary Parenting Plans

A temporary parenting plan or custody agreement contains information about where your child will live and how you and the other parent will care for your child during the divorce proceedings.

A temporary plan lasts until the divorce is finalized and the permanent parenting plan is in place, usually one to six months.

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

Make My Temporary Plan Now

Making a temporary parenting plan

Your temporary parenting plan should have the same information as a permanent parenting plan, but it focuses on the needs of the next few months.

You plan should explain:

  • If one parent will have sole legal custody or if both will share joint legal custody
  • How you and the other parent will continue to provide care for your children
  • Where your child will live and when the child will spend time with each parent
  • How you and the other parent will share and divide expenses for the children (if you want temporary child support you will need to file the appropriate papers in court)

Your temporary custody arrangements will most likely turn into the final custody arrangements. You should make your plan so that you can use it as your final plan.

Making a temporary custody schedule

Your plan should have a temporary custody schedule that shows where your child lives and when your child spends time with the nonresidential parent.

Your schedule should contain everything in a permanent custody schedule and show your child's daily living schedule, holidays, and vacation time.

You should make your schedule in the best interest of your child by considering the physical, emotional and social needs of your child.

Filing your temporary plan

You and your child's other parent can work together to make a temporary custody plan to file with the court. If you agree on the plan, the judge will usually approve it.

If you and your child's other parent do not agree on the temporary plan, you will need to file for a temporary custody order and attend a temporary custody hearing. The judge at the hearing will determine the temporary plan.

Some parents do not file their temporary plan with the court because they both agree (and trust each other) to follow it. You should file your plan if you want legal backing to your arrangements or if you want the court to have a record of your plan.

Preparing for a temporary custody hearing

To prepare for a temporary custody hearing, you need to make a temporary parenting plan that shows what you want for your temporary custody arrangements.

For the hearing, you and the other parent will meet before a judge. Custody hearings are usually brief, around 20 to 30 minutes, and you will meet in a courtroom or in the judge's quarters. You may be able to present your temporary parenting plan to the judge or you may have to submit a written plan. You should be prepared to quickly summarize your plan and why it's in the best interest of your child.

Making the temporary plan permanent

You may want to track your parenting time while your temporary plan is in effect.

You may also want to note in a custody journal what is and isn't working.

These steps will help you make improvements to your final plan.

If you and the other parent are both happy with the temporary plan, you can make it permanent. You can also make changes, if you and the other parent agree on them.

If you and the other parent do not agree on a final plan, each parent will need to show the court a plan and explain why it is in the best interest of the child. The court will then determine the permanent plan.

The easiest way to make a temporary parenting plan

Creating a temporary plan can feel just as intimidating as making a permanent version. You still have to use airtight legal language and cover all required information. Plus, there's a chance your document could turn into a final plan.

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation. It walks you through each step of creating a parenting plan and helps you build a schedule piece by piece.

As a result, you get documents that meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

When you're making a plan — whether temporary or final — turn to Custody X Change for fast, affordable help.

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

Make My Temporary Plan Now

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

What's your best schedule?

What's your best schedule?

Take the Quiz To Find Out

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

Make My Plan



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.

Make My Temporary Plan Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan