Free Printable Parenting Plan & Custody Agreement Templates (Word)

free parenting plan template

A parenting plan and custody agreement template is made by the parents when they go through a divorce to guide and develop their lives for taking care of the children. You have to customize this plan to establish and address the requirements of your own family.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan specifies the responsibilities of each parent when they get separated or divorced. A child can get negatively affected by seeing their parents separate or divorce. In these situations, setting clear parenting expectations and responsibilities can reduce the conflict between parents. This document enables the parents to create an ideal parenting situation as per their circumstances.

When to use a parenting plan template?

The parenting plan template is designed in such a way that the children will be the main beneficiaries. Due to this reason, the plan is also referred as a custody agreement template, a co-parenting plan template or a child custody agreement template.

It isn’t a requirement during divorce proceedings. However, it’s a good step for co-parenting. You can avoid many disagreements between the divorcing parents by having this plan. The visitation schedules, custody, and the agreed-upon financial obligations are clearly included in a good co-parenting plan. The plan should also contain information regarding important issues such as medical rights, vacations, religion, transportation, extracurricular activities, and education.

Important features of a parenting plan template:

Any adult can understand the parenting plan is one of the important feature of this document. The plan should contain the right knowledge regarding the family’s predicament. Keep in mind that this plan is an agreement between both parties. Moreover, the couple should also bear in mind that a judge may read this document too.

Therefore, while composing the agreement, it is important to remember all of the individuals who may get involved in the children’s lives. The foundation of this agreement is denoted by the heading of this document. It also acts as a reference in the formulation of your plan.

You have to stick with the facts while explaining the past and current predicament of your family. The children’s welfare and requirements are also the issues that you have to discuss in the document. Don’t editorialize your statements because this indicates biases.

Never bad mouthing your spouse. If you do, then the judge will surely rule against you. It isn’t bad to voice out your personal take on the situation and the expectations you have as this plan is regarding the kids. Remember that this parenting plan template is about to take care of the welfare of your children instead of your failed marriage or the reasons behind it.

In case, you have any issues against your ex-spouse, don’t mention it as complaints. It is also possible that one parent don’t allow the children to have a relationship with the other parent due to several reasons.

It is one example to get them in harm’s way by an abusive parent. Generally, in normal cases, the parenting plan must indicate the desire and right of children to maintain their relationship with their parents. When parents get divorced or separated, joint custody is usually the standard or norm.

Common factors to consider when drafting a child custody agreement:

A child custody agreement outlines shared parenting rights so that each parent can spend time with their children after they are separated or divorced. Depending on the circumstances, either of the parents has more custodial time than the other. However, consider the following common factors while drafting this agreement;

  • Major holidays
  • Birthdays
  • The school year
  • Summer holiday
  • Child age at the time of the agreement

When do you need to modify the parenting plan?

Some states require amendments to the parenting plan when children get to a specific age. This is because the needs of a very young child change when they reach a teenager. The required hours of pick up and drop off might change when teens become able to drive themselves to visit you. Here are some reasons that require changes to the parenting plan;

  • Age of the child
  • Either of the spouse moving to another state or city
  • Child commitments to sports
  • Children want to modify the contract
  • Special requirements of the child
  • Health of the child

How to create a parenting plan template?

When making a parental plan template, it is suggested to use several plans as guides to your final document in order to make sure that you cover all the bases. The parents who have plans of getting divorced or separated should use the parenting plan as a guide.

The main reason for making such a plan is to make sure that parents fulfill their responsibilities, despite the separation. This plan makes sure the child’s continuous development. In both form and substance, the plan should be effective. When making a parental plan template, take the following factors into account;

  • Specify the names of parents so that the document can specifically refer to them if required.
  • To clarify this fact, include the names of the children.
  • Mention the duties and responsibilities of both parents in which they agree. This may include sharing of information, refraining from involving children during disputes, and more.

Furthermore, in the plan, you must also include the responsibilities of the parents. Likewise other agreements, this document should also outline the responsibilities of each parent when it comes to the welfare of their children;

Information sharing

Both parents should give information such as their current addresses and contact numbers. This will make sure that one of the parent can always track their children’s whereabouts.

Keep the children away from parental disputes

When children get to watch their parents fight or argue about anything, it is never a good experience and extremely detrimental to their growth and development.

When it comes to shared time, find a consensus

It is essential that both parents should spend time with their children. The duration of time is based on the agreement made between the parents. In the children’s lives, the presence of both parents is important.

Identifying the custody

Having this will identify how parents can best serve their children’s requirements. Instead of small-scale plans, this is a lot more effective.

You must also follow the basic guidelines for creating such a plan apart from the responsibilities. PDFs can be more versatile and effective while using a computer to create the plan. Here are some pointers that will help you in making an effective parenting plan;

  • You should remain as specific as you can. You don’t have to beat around the bush. You should be direct and straight forward. You should also make sure to highlight the obligations and responsibilities of each parent correctly.
  • There are different templates available for use, check them and see which one is best for you. You should select right one that suits to your requirements.
  • To complete your plan, you should include as much information as you can. Also, make sure that your plan gives all the accurate information shared by both parties.
  • Include guideline on how to use a plan. This makes it easier for anyone to use the plan and assists in avoiding the misuse of the document.


In conclusion, a parenting plan and custody agreement template is an important document that contains information regarding the children’s parenting and future care. This plan is made by parents when they are getting divorced or separated.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I create my own parenting plan?

Yes, you can create your own parenting plan as the parents know their children best. But, you should consult with the lawyer to make sure that the agreement complies with your state’s requirements.

Which documents do you need to file a custody agreement?

In every state of the US, you have to file different custody documents with a family court. Consult with a lawyer which is specialized in family law to make sure you have the correct paperwork.

Can I change a parenting plan without going to court?

Yes, you can change your parenting plan on your own and you just have to make sure that you both are agreed on the new terms.

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