30 Things to Include in Your Parenting Plan

What to Include in a Written Parenting Plan

By Jennifer Wolf, About.com Guide

Creating a parenting plan is vital to establishing a good working relationship with your ex. In fact, some states require parents to file a parenting plan with the court as part of the child custody agreement. But even if your state does not require you to create a parenting plan, consider working with your ex to reach your own informal agreement. The benefit is that it forces you to consider many different scenarios and decide up front how you're going to handle them. So if there's anything that you feel strongly about, put it in the parenting plan and ask your ex to agree to it.

The Following Elements are "Must Haves" for Any Parenting Plan

At a bare minimum, your parenting plan should include the following items:


A basic residential schedule

A regular visitation schedule

A projected schedule for parenting time over the holidays

A projected schedule for parenting time on birthdays

Transportation arrangements

Car seat requirements

Neutral exchange arrangements (if necessary)

Anticipated changes to the schedule (as your children age)

Schedules for school vacations

How changes to the schedule should be proposed/negotiated

Regular child care arrangements

Whether the other parent will be considered first when a babysitter is needed

How relocation requests will be handled

Contact with extended family members

Contact with either parent's friends/dating partners

The Following Elements are Recommended Parenting Plan Add-Ons

You should also include anything that you feel strongly about, such as:


Directions pertaining to third-party visitation

Sleeping arrangements

Instructions for administering medication

Dietary requirements

Preferred methods of discipline

Parent-child communication between visits/parenting time

Parent-to-parent communication guidelines

Decisions about piercings and body art


Internet use (including Facebook)

Cell phone use


Movies (for example, R-rated movies)

Participation in school/sporting events

Participation in church/synagogue/mosque activities


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