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How to Make a Parenting Plan

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What does a parenting plan include?

The two main parts of a parenting plan (also called a custody and visitation plan) are:

Custody and visitation orders also cover areas such as travel, conditions for visitation, PFDs, taxes, and health insurance.

Using the resources listed below, you may want the help of a counselor, mediator or co-parenting coach to develop a schedule that works for your family.

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How does a judge decide whether to order a specific parenting plan?

The court determines custody and visitation according to what arrangement is in the child’s best interests. To figure this out, the court considers a series of factors called the "best interest” factors which include:

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What resources can help with making a parenting plan?

It takes time and creativity to make the actual schedule, which is what the judge needs to issue a court order. When reviewing your proposal, the judge will want to know how and why the schedule is in your child(ren)'s best interest, which is the legal standard for deciding custody and visitation.

You need to think realistically about your schedule, the other parent’ schedule and your child(ren)’s needs. Don’t be afraid to try a few different options. Sometimes, adjusting just a few hours a week can really help reduce parental conflict.

The following sample scheduling chart can help you work out a weekly plan and calendars help think about the whole year:

You can also fill out:

This form provides the framework for you to state why the proposed parenting plan is in the child(ren)’s best interests. It goes through each of the best interest factors and has a space for you to write in specific information about how your plan addresses each factor. Remember the court uses the best interest factors to determine the custody and visitation arrangement. The court may use the information you provide in the Best Interest Affidavit in reaching the custody decision. It is an affidavit so it must be signed in front of a notary. The court clerk can notarize the document for free.

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What forms can I use to state what schedule is in our child(ren)’s best interest?

There are different forms that you can use to say what schedule you want. They include the basic topics that should be covered in court ordered plans. Read through to see which form will help you to organize your thoughts and develop a plan that will work:

If both parents argree:

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Rev. 7 January 2014
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