Out-of-State Custody Arrangements

You will need a custody arrangement as part of your divorce, separation or other legal proceeding involving children. An out-of-state custody arrangement is for parents who live in separate states.

An out-of-state custody agreement generally grants one parent sole physical custody and the other parent visitation rights. Although children benefit from spending time with both parents, courts don't want to force excessive travel.

If a parent who shares joint custody moves to another state, custody generally transfers to the other parent because children tend to do best in a place they're familiar with.

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Who creates an out-of-state custody arrangement?

Parents are encouraged to create an out-of-state custody arrangement together because they are the experts on their family. As long as the court finds their agreement reasonable and good for the children, it will give approval.

Here are some other ways to create an out-of-state custody arrangement:

  • Each parent can submit their own proposal to the court and let the judge decide.
  • A mediator can write up an agreement they help parents reach.
  • Lawyers can draw up arrangements for each parent or a joint arrangement they help parents negotiate.
  • The judge can create an arrangement based on the evidence heard at trial.

All of these people can use the Custody X Change app to create an out-of-state custody arrangement. The software is easy enough for parents to use, but thorough enough to meet a law professional's standards.

What are the parts of an out-of-state custody arrangement?

An out-of-state custody arrangement includes the same topics as a standard custody arrangement:

  • Legal and physical custody: How custody will be divided between you and the other parent
  • A parenting time schedule: When the out-of-state parent will visit the children and when the children will travel to the parent
  • Co-parenting provisions: Rules in parenting areas like discipline and communication
  • Expenses not covered by child support: Agreements on child-related costs, such as health insurance premiums and taxes

How do I customize my out-of-state custody arrangement?

There is no one-size-fits-all custody arrangement for families.

Here are some things to consider as you customize your arrangement:

  • Ages and maturity of your children
  • Health and special needs of your children
  • Distance between the parents' homes
  • Type of travel required
  • Ability of parents to pay for travel
  • School and work schedules

Look at common long-distance schedules to get you started on the visitation schedule. You can customize any schedule in the Custody X Change app.

What if my out-of-state custody arrangement isn't working?

If any part of your out-of-state custody arrangement is not working, you need to revise it.

There are many reasons why you may need to revise, such as:

  • Your children have outgrown the current arrangement.
  • Your children can now handle different types of travel.
  • A parent or child's schedule has changed significantly.
  • A parent's finances have changed.
  • The health or well-being of a parent or child has changed.

Can I revise the out-of-state custody arrangement?

To revise your custody arrangement you must propose changes to the court and ask for approval. File your request in the court where the custodial parent lives.

You can use Custody X Change to draft your revised arrangement. The app stores your original arrangement until you're ready to modify it.

The judge will ask why the revisions are necessary and how they'll help your children. Having evidence makes the judge much more likely to sign off. For example, you may present a parenting journal with notes about how the current arrangement has been working.

The easiest way to make a custody arrangement

Creating a custody arrangement 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 custody 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 custody arrangements is with Custody X Change.

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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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