Interstate Custody Schedules for Children

How do I make an interstate custody schedule for my children?

You can create your own interstate custody and visitation schedule or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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

Make My Parenting Schedule Now

What is an interstate custody schedule?

An interstate custody schedule is one that sets up visitation for children with parents that live in a different state than they do. It is part of the interstate parenting plan that you must create as part of your divorce proceedings..

Experts feel that it is beneficial for children to have two parents involved in their lives, regardless of their marital status. Keeping the long distance parent involved requires a visitation agreement that is both age appropriate for the children and realistic for the parents.

Creating a standard custody schedule is difficult, but some people find it simpler to create an interstate custody schedule. It does contain some extra topics that may not be found in more traditional schedules.

On the one hand, there isn't as much weekly back-and-forth between residences as there would be if you and the other parent lived in the same city. Others find the travel required for interstate visitations to be a big burden.

To begin creating your interstate custody schedules, use Custody X Change software to get you started on discussing what it will take to create a stable and loving environment for your children and give them as much access to the distant parent as possible.

Do I really need to make an interstate custody schedule?

All states require some kind of custody schedule as part of the parenting plan needed to process your divorce, so you will need to make an interstate custody schedule.

Also, the custody schedule is an advantage to you and the other parent because it eliminates day-to-day conflict because the visitations are already agreed on.

Creating an interstate custody schedule is not as difficult as it once was. Many states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. These important pieces of legislature determine which state has jurisdiction over your divorce and the custody of your children.

The UCCJEA prevents parents from moving to another state and establishing a custody schedule that excludes the other parent. You must create a parenting plan that includes a custody schedule that meets the all legal requirements.

Use Custody X Change software when creating your interstate custody schedule.

What is an age appropriate interstate custody schedule?

An age appropriate interstate custody schedule is one that creates visitation times that are developmentally appropriate for your children.

Some of the biggest challenges with an interstate custody schedule center around travel, cost of travel and the ability of children to handle travel and separation.

Here are some age appropriateness guidelines to remember as you create an interstate custody schedule:

  • Infants should not be separated from the primary caregiver for very long, and definitely not overnight. Consider arranging for the distant parent to travel to the infant's city to spend time together.
  • Toddlers do not have a good concept of time, so keeping them away from their primary caregiver is stressful for them. The distant parent should probably continue making visits to the toddler's home, or make arrangements for the custodial parent and toddler to travel together.
  • Elementary aged children can handle an overnight visit or two, depending on age and maturity. Traveling alone can be very scary for this age, so make sure your custody schedule covers this.
  • Older children give you the most flexibility in traveling and length of visitations, but they are also quite busy with their own lives, such as music classes, sports or dating. Ask for their input into the schedule to get a fresh perspective.

Whatever you decide, your interstate custody schedule should be viewed as a way to ensure the children and the distant parent get plenty of time together and the children are ready for the travel and distance that interstate visitation entails.

What if the other parent doesn't like my interstate custody schedule?

Ideally, you and the other parent will create an interstate custody schedule you both agree on, but if you cannot agree, you should prepare your own version for the court to review.

The court is seeking the best custody schedule for the children, regardless of what the parents want. You and the other parent can submit sample interstate custody schedules to show what you feel is best for your children.

If you and the other parent cannot agree, the judge will evaluate your separate schedules.

The judge may decide to:

  • Accept your custody schedule as is
  • Accept the other parent's custody schedule as is
  • Accept your custody schedule with some modifications
  • Accept the other parent's custody schedule with some modifications
  • Accept neither custody schedule and order you and the other parent to attend mediation to work out a custody schedule together
  • Implement a custody schedule put together by a neutral third party that works with the court

The family courts would like to see you and the other parent arrive at some kind of agreement concerning visitation, but ultimately, the best interests of the children is the judge's highest priority.

Use Custody X Change software to create your sample interstate custody schedule to present at court or at your mediation session. The templates help you get started in creating a detailed and workable schedule.

What does the family court look for in an interstate custody schedule?

The judge in family court is seeking to approve an interstate custody schedule that promotes the best interests of the children involved. You and the other parent can provide the best insight into what your children's needs are, and coming together in agreement is the best case scenario for the court.

Here are some of the other things the family court judge wants to see surrounding your interstate custody schedule:

  • Parents who are interested in putting their needs aside for the sake of their children
  • A custody schedule that has been customized to the children's unique needs
  • Parents who admit their own strengths and weaknesses as a parent
  • Parents who show they can communicate with each other despite their differences
  • A custody schedule created by a parent or both parents that has taken the input of older children into consideration

Being prepared with the right paperwork, including a printout of a sample interstate custody schedule, can also help you look organized and professional. Use Custody X Change software to help you create a clear schedule to use at court.

How can I track whether the interstate custody schedule is working?

As a caring parent, keep track of how your interstate custody schedule is working out for you, the other parent and your children. Using a parenting journal is one of the most effective ways to document what's happening in your lives with regards to the interstate custody schedule.

Custody X Change software includes an electronic journal that links to specific days on your custody schedule. You can keep track of everything from missed visitations by you or the other parent to how your children behave after each visit.

A parenting journal can help you:

  • Track actual parenting time with your children
  • Compare actual parenting time with officially scheduled parenting time
  • Remember details about what happens during parenting time
  • Log problems with you, the other parent or the children
  • Stay organized by keeping all your parenting notes in one place

A parenting journal can also be valuable when it is time to modify your interstate parenting plan because the family court can review your notes to look for evidence that a change is needed.

The easiest way to make an interstate custody schedule

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

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation by helping you build a schedule piece by piece.

As a result, you get a written schedule and a visual calendar. They meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

For quick, reliable and affordable help making a custody schedule, turn to Custody X Change.

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

Make My Parenting Schedule Now

Explore examples of common schedules



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 Parenting Schedule Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan