Free Parenting Plan Template

To help guarantee your child’s interests are protected use our Parenting Plan template in PDF format. Avoid disputes with the other parent and understand your obligations with our outline.

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Last Update February 18th, 2024


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What Is a Parenting Plan

When creating a separation or divorce agreement, parents often include a Parenting Plan to define each parent's responsibilities to their child or children.

A Parenting Plan is also known as a Child Custody Agreement and this document determines:

  • Terms of custody
  • Visitation
  • Each parent’s rights
  • Rules for child travel
  • Financial responsibilities

It’s possible to modify a Child Custody Agreement without court involvement if needed. However, each state has different rules regarding how to submit and execute the plan. 

Prepare your agreement with our Parenting Plan template to avoid any disputes with the other parent involved.

Who needs a Parenting Plan

Creating a Parenting Plan may be necessary to ensure a cordial co-parenting relationship.

You should use a Parenting Plan if you are: 

  • Required to submit a plan by your local jurisdiction
  • Separating from someone who is not your spouse
  • Getting separated or divorced from your partner

By drafting a well-written plan, you’ll be able to meet any requirements and prevent confusion regarding parenting responsibilities.

What to Include in a Parenting Plan

To correctly outline your legal document you’ll need to guarantee that every critical element is included. 

The following topics should be addressed in your Parenting Plan:

Parenting plan key elements to include

With these details in your document, you can create a plan that accommodates your child’s present and future needs

How to Write a Parenting Plan

Once you understand what should be included in your Custody Agreement, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the steps to draft the document. 

Follow the instructions below to make your Parenting Plan: 

Include Each Party’s Information

Begin by clearly stating the names and contact information of each parent. Outline your current parenting situation, such as time spent with your child, financial contributions, and your child's needs.

Establish Custody and Schedule 

Define where the child will primarily reside and how time will be divided between the parents. Include a detailed custody and visitation schedule, covering regular days, holidays, birthdays, and vacations.

Clarify Decision-Making and Financial Responsibilities

Determine which parent will make key decisions concerning education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Also, agree on the financial responsibilities of each parent, including child support, shared expenses, insurance, and future planning such as college funds.

Plan for Healthcare, Education, and Extracurricular Activities

Outline how the child's healthcare needs will be met and who will make medical decisions. Specify arrangements for the child's schooling and participation in extracurricular activities.

Set Guidelines for Communication and Transportation

Decide on a plan for parent-to-parent communication, as well as transportation logistics for exchanges between homes. Furthermore, agree on methods for resolving disputes about the parenting plan itself.

Manage Child's Relationships and Any Modifications

Establish expectations for the child's relationships with extended family and significant others. Also, define a procedure for making changes to the parenting plan as the child grows or circumstances change.

Set Rules for Travel and Relocation

Define the protocol for travel or relocation with the child, including notice periods and any other specific conditions. Ensure that each parent’s right to spend 2 weeks of vacation with the child or children is added. 

Address Grandparent Visitation 

Include that visitation between the child and their grandparents will be encouraged and facilitated. 

Add Confidentiality Terms 

Mention the requirement for each parent to maintain confidentiality regarding the child. Forbid the use of information that may be harmful to the other parent or child. 

Review and Sign the Document 

Go over the parenting plan thoroughly to ensure it’s in your child’s best interest and follows your state’s laws. Then sign the agreement. 

Ensure that you avoid any mistakes during the writing process by using our Child Custody Agreement template.  

Parenting Plan Template Sample

When writing your Parenting Plan you may have questions about how to structure your document. Review the sample template below to help you during the writing process.

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Parenting Plan Sample

Other Personal and Family Documents

Certain legal forms can help you divide your belongings and settle financial obligations if you are planning to separate from your significant other.

Other documents can help you plan for different circumstances if you are not yet married to your partner.

These forms include:

FAQs About Parenting Plan

Parenting Plans can often be difficult to prepare due to the many obligations parents have to take into account.

We have responded to some of the most frequently asked questions to provide further answers on how to prepare this document.

How Do I Execute a Parenting Plan?

To properly execute a Parenting Plan you’ll need to include all the necessary information and then sign the document with the other parent. However, for the plan to be considered legally valid, you must follow your state’s laws.

States have different requirements regarding signing the document. Certain states make it obligatory to sign the Custody Agreement in front of witnesses.

Before signing your Parenting Plan, review your state’s laws.

Do I Need to Notarize a Parenting Plan?

Depending on the state you are drafting and signing your Parenting Plan in, you may need to get a notary public’s signature for your document to be considered valid.

Guarantee that you have followed all of your state’s requirements. 

Even if it is not obligatory in your state you should get your document notarized to make it more official.

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Parenting Plan Sample

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