As discussed in our Child Custody post, a parenting plan outlines all of the details of the physical and legal custody of a child that are agreed upon by their parents and approved by a judge. These plans are required in all divorce cases that involve children.

Document Sections

A parenting plan is made up of multiple parts. To fill it out successfully and understand it thoroughly, it is highly recommended that a lawyer assist with the process.

The Custody and Decision Making section includes:

  • Specification on which parent will have legal custody or if the custody will be joint
  • Specification on which parent will have physical custody or if the custody will be joint or split
  • Specifications on day-to-day decisions
  • Specifications on how major decisions will be made for the child(ren) by the parents
  • Specifications on how disagreements between the parents, regarding the child(ren), will be handled

The Parenting Time/Visitation Schedule section includes:

  • Specifications on when the non-custodial parent will be able to see the child(ren)
  • Specifications on which parent the child(ren) will stay with during holidays and school breaks
  • Specifications on custody during other holidays, if applicable
  • Specifications on the start and end dates of holiday visitations
  • Specifications on both parents’ schedules and the coordination of them
  • Specifications on transport of the child(ren) to/from visitations
  • Specifications on how and when the parent who does not have physical custody at the time can contact the child(ren)
  • Specifications on possible restrictions on parenting time, if applicable
  • Specifications on possible communication restrictions, if applicable

The Access to Records and Information section includes:

  • Specifications on the rights of each parent to the records of the child(ren)

Possible Attachments

When custody or visitation is disputed, the following attachments should be included with the parenting plan.

  • A copy of each parents’ work schedule from the past year and as far into the future as possible
  • A copy of the schedules of possible daycare providers, specifying who will take care of the child(ren)
  • A copy of any medical conditions of the child(ren) or parents that might be applicable to the case
  • A copy of the teaching credentials of any special educator, not from a public school, that comes in contact with the child(ren)
  • A copy of the child(ren)’s school’s schedule
  • A copy of why split custody would be in the best interest of the child(ren), if applicable, and include any custody elections made by any child over the age of 14
  • A copy of why visitation should be allowed, if applicable
  • A copy of an affidavit from each parent stating any criminal convictions or family violence

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