When crafting a parenting plan template, there are many custody agreement templates that can be looked at for reference. The parenting agreement template that you might want to use for your parenting agreement form is probably recommended by the state. Parenting and co-parenting agreement templates are used by the state to guide parenting plan arrangements when people divorce.

The parenting plan template that you use to create your own parenting plan should be closely related to the common agreements that are used in your state. Each state has its own common parenting plan rules and regulations that you would be wise to stick to for most of your agreement with your spouse. The parenting plan agreement that you create will be replaced by a court-created document if you ever seek the assistance of a lawyer, so you will want to be sure that you have set up an agreement that will be close to a court-appointed agreement.

In some states, parents are allowed to create a parenting plan template that the court will review and approve if it is deemed fair. This is not an option in all states, and in most cases, a lawyer will create the parenting plan that both spouses agree to after a divorce. If you do have the option to create your own parenting plan template for court approval, this might be the fairest way to provide care for your children following a divorce.

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What is the most common child custody agreement?

The most common form of child custody agreement details shared parenting rights that give each parent time with the children after the divorce is final. There are many versions of this kind of shared support agreement, and one parent might have more custodial time than the other. In many states, the most common parenting plan agreement will entail one parent seeing the child on the weekends and one parent spending the weekdays with them. There might also be arrangements made for how to handle holidays, birthdays, and other events that might take place each year.

If you have been trying to figure out what is the most equitable child custody agreement for your children, there are some common factors that need to be considered when drafting this document:

  • Major holidays
  • Birthdays
  • The school year
  • Summer holiday and summer break or vacation
  • Child age at the time of the agreement

Custody Agreement Templates

Why a parenting agreement form might need changes?

In most cases, there are changes to the parenting plan when children get to a certain age. The needs of a very young child are very different from the needs of a teen. Once teens are able to drive themselves to visit you, the required hours of pick up and drop off might change, and your teen might decide not to come to see you as well.

The parenting plan template that you put in place might only really be useful to you and your spouse until your child is about 16. After this time, some of the factors that make a parenting plan helpful are no longer in play. Make sure that you are prepared for this change to the parenting plan when it happens naturally.

Some other reasons that you might need to modify the parenting plan template that you have in place are:

  • Age of the child
  • One spouse moving to another state or city
  • Child commitments to sports and after-school activities
  • Child’s desire to change the contract
  • Special needs of the child
  • Change in the health of the child

These factors might not impact the parenting plan template that you have in place, but in many cases, they will change the way that a child needs to be cared for. The parenting plan agreement that you and your spouse have in place needs to be utilized to take care of your child in the most ideal way possible, and this means that change can happen.

Child Custody Agreement Templates

How do you write a contract between parents?

Writing a parenting plan between spouses can be difficult. Most people want the maximum amount of time with their children that is possible, but children have commitments to keep, school to attend, and other factors that can make it hard to give equal parenting time to each parent. In circumstances where one parent is located more than a short drive away, there might need to be considerations made to allow children to see this parent on a less routine basis.

In cases where a parent is stationed in the military overseas or is not in the country for long periods of time, there will need to be a more unique parenting plan template created that allows for visitation when it is possible for this parent to be available. There are many complications that can make writing a parenting plan tricky, but having one in place is the best way to make sure that you and your kids are being treated fairly and equitably during the shared custody process.

Here are the parts of the parenting plan that you must be sure are outlined when you draft a parenting plan template:

1.    Parent and Child Information

You will need to be sure that your parenting plan agreement includes all of the information for all of the people impacted by it. This means that you and your spouse will need to be listed with your legal names and your current address and phone number. The children that are involved in the parenting plan will need to be added to this section with their full legal names as well.

Having clarity about who the parenting plan template is applied to, is critical for this document to be used for any kind of legal discussion. If you have not named the parties involved properly and with their legal names, the parenting plan template that you have created might not be valid, and it might be possible to act outside of its confines.

Parenting plans are meant to convey some predictability and fairness to the shared parenting process, so you do not want to miss some of the important information that makes this document hold up in a court of law. This is particularly true if you are drafting a parenting plan that the court will review and accept during your divorce process.

2.    Custodial Agreements

There are four kinds of custodial arrangements that you might choose from when you put your parenting plan in place. These custodial arrangements are consistent, in most cases, across all the states in the US.

  • Sole Legal Custody. This is an agreement where only one parent has the right to make legal decisions for the child. These might be choices about healthcare, religion, education, and more. You might still have joint parenting time under this plan but not joint decision-making.
  • Joint Legal Custody. In joint legal custodial plans, you and your spouse will have joint decision-making capacity for your child. This can include healthcare, religion, education, and more.
  • Sole Physical Custody. This parenting plan determines that the child will live with one parent only. This means that the parent that the child does not live with will be given visitation rights only. Cost-sharing and child support are often linked with this choice, and you might be given a higher child support award from the court as the sole custodial parent.
  • Joint Physical Custody. Joint physical custody agreements allow both parents to have equal parenting time with the child or children involved. This means that the child might split their time living with each parent 50/50. Child support might not be assessed by either parent in this kind of parenting agreement since parenting time is split equally.

3.    Schedules

Parenting rights include visitation time and the way that holidays and other family events are handled. Many parenting plans allow for major holidays to be split into an every-other-year plan where the child spends major holidays with different parents on alternating years. There might also be specific days of the week that the child needs to be with one parent due to work limitations and other considerations.

In a 50/50 joint parenting plan, the schedule can be arranged in any way that works out for the kids and the parents. If that means that your children are with the other parent from Tuesday-Friday every week, that is fine. There are not usually any limitations in this kind of parenting agreement beyond the demands that each spouse wants to bring to the table.

In other parenting agreements where visitation is all that is allowed for one of the spouses, the days that the spouse gets to see the child might be predetermined, or there might need to be a discussion in the parenting plan about how these visitations are to be scheduled. There are some circumstances that might cause a parent to be unavailable other than on short notice. This can be allowed for in the parenting schedule that is put in place in the parenting plan template.

This arrangement can change over time, and there might need to be edits done to the parenting plan if it no longer allows both parents to have equal parenting time with the children or parenting time that is considered to be fair to the children involved. A lawyer might have to be involved, and the case might have to be heard in court to alter this document if the parenting plan was included in divorce proceedings.

When a parenting plan is made without the help of the court, the former spouses can determine when and if changes need to be made. The parenting plan template that you have in place should be carefully updated anytime there are changes in routine so that the document is current and accurate at all times.

4.    Rights and Responsibilities

This section can detail many different things. Most former spouses use it to outline which kinds of events both spouses can attend and how emergencies are handled when children are at school or with a friend. This section of the parenting plan template also outlines when each spouse needs to notify the other about injuries or other concerns. This part of the document cannot cover all possible unique situations, but it can offer a point of reference for when emergencies or disagreements come up.

5.    Financial Considerations

If child support is being paid by one spouse, this section of the parenting plan template needs to explain how much and how often this support must be paid. The splitting of expenses for school and sports might also be detailed here. Medical insurance needs to be explained here as well, and this part of the document needs to state who will claim the child on their taxes.

6.    Signatures

This section of the document needs to be correct for your state’s regulations. Make sure that you know how the document needs to be signed in order for it to be considered valid and legally binding. You might need to visit a lawyer for advice about this part of the document. You want your parenting plan to be legal and to hold up in court, so you need to be sure that the signature section is handled correctly.

Free Parenting Plan Templates

Parenting Plans Are Important Documents

When you and your spouse decide to go your separate ways, you need to be sure to create a parenting plan that details the various kinds of support that each parent will provide going forward. Children are often the most impacted by divorce, and you will want to be sure that your parenting plan helps them to feel like things are going to be okay going forward. The more equitable your parenting plan template, the more likely it will be that you and your spouse will get along as you share custody of your child or children.

Make sure that your parenting plan agreement is signed and that all the right sections have been included in it. This is a legal document that you might someday need to use in court, so you need to be sure that you have added all the right information for this document to be used correctly when the time comes.

Notarized Custody Agreement Templates

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Tagged:AgreementCustodyLegalMarriageParenting PlanParentsPersonal
TemplateLab March 12th, 2023
Ryan Duffy
Ryan Duffy