This is one example of a basic Parenting Plan that has been designed to address most (but not all) of the typical situations that can arise between divorced parents.
In this parenting plan thought has been given to ensuring that both parents get reasonable treatment where the children are concerned. Although it is impossible to foresee and cover every possible issue, this PPP does a good job of anticipating the kind of things that are often the cause of disagreements. If you intend to use this PPP, you will want to modify or delete certain items in the document to address specific items unique to you and your spouse's situation, but this text can serve as a good starting point from which to proceed.
Our thanks to Diana Gale Kite for drafting this most comprehensive Parenting Plan, and for allowing us to use it on the SPARC site.
An expanded, "court-ready" version of this Parenting Plan is available from ParentingPlan.net.
Wherever the text "[Mother / Father]" is found, one or the other must be removed.
Once you've made the above changes, read the entire document carefully and make certain that text "Petitioner" and "Respondent" appear in the correct places. Also make sure that the text "Mother" and "Father" appear in the correct places.
Change all occurrences of the "20XX" text to the correct year.
Adjust the residence time(s) mentioned to suit your situation.
Have your attorney or a qualified paralegal review the document for errors and/or discrepancies.
FIXED CUSTODY AND PERMANENT PARENTING PLAN
That joint legal responsibility and joint physical responsibility for said children, John Doe and Jane Doe, be ordered. That natural Parents Mr. John Doe and Ms. Jane Doe shall share and participate in the joint legal responsibility and joint physical responsibility for said biological children. That Parents shall share custody of said children as set forth below:
That said children shall reside with [Mother / Father] during months school is in session and said school aged children attend school. That said children shall reside with [Mother / Father] during summer vacation months. That [Mother / Father] shall have parenting time set forth from Friday when school releases said children to Sunday at 8PM, or Monday at the hour school begins, by his choice, every other weekend while school is in session. Parent commencing his/her custodial period is to provide and/or pay for transportation for said children which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult. Parent exercising parenting time shall provide and/or pay for transportation for said children during parenting time periods, which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult. The pick-up and drop-off location for said children shall be at an agreed upon or court appointed public place, or in the school office of said children. Should [Mother / Father] exercise any parenting time during [Mother / Father]'s custodial summer period, [Mother / Father] shall provide and/or pay for transportation for said children which she may delegate to a responsible adult.
That school attendance for said children of school age be MANDATORY. That each of said school aged children shall attend school daily, participate fully in school assignments and activities, and shall complete and turn in all assigned homework on time. That [Mother / Father] shall be notified should said children miss more than two (2), days of school for any reason. That should said school aged children NOT attend school regularly, said children shall reside with [Mother / Father] during months school is in session and reside with [Mother / Father] during summer vacation months.
That the attached Holiday and Vacation schedule be ordered. That Parent receiving said children for their summer vacation, special days or holidays shall provide and/or pay for transportation for said children which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult. The pick-up and drop off location for said children shall be at an agreed upon or court appointed public place, or in the school office of said children. CONFLICTS CLAUSE: Special days and Holidays shall prevail over regular periods of custody.
That Mother and Father both shall provide any and all available health care coverage for said children either through employment or any other program offered to him/her at reasonable or no cost. That Parents shall have a reduction of Child Support according to state guidelines on providing said medical coverage. That the custodial Parent shall cooperate fully and completely with the other Parent in allowing said children to take full advantage of available regular, preventive and emergency care coverage.
That the Parent with whom said children are staying shall be responsible for daily care and shall make necessary decisions regarding education of said children, (academic pursuits at school, signing of report cards, after-school activities in which he/she participates, etc.), cultural and artistic training, non-emergency health treatment. That all major medical decisions (including dental, psychiatric, body piercing or other alterations), and general welfare (acquisition of passport, changing of name, signing of contracts on behalf of said children, signing of driver's license, etc.), shall be made by the prior written consent of both parties or further order of the Court.
That the Parents shall not make demands of the other Parent, or make promises to said children or others, concerning the financial contribution of the other Parent toward the purchase of any gifts, activities, events or trips, the paying of any fees or of cash for any necessary or extra items, or donations of money or services on the part of the other Parent without the advance written consent of said Parent. That the parties shall not deny parenting or custodial rights due to a refusal to provide said financial contribution.
That it is expressly understood the enumerated times each Parent shall be with, and responsible for care of said children are NOT subject to modifications by mutual agreement unless in writing, dated, signed and witnessed, and each Parent shall retain a copy. That said children are to receive the MAXIMUM benefit to be derived from the love, care and attention of both Parents.
That the primary residence of said children shall not be moved outside a radius of one and a half (1 1/2), hour's driving time from the residence of [Mother / Father] without prior permission of [Mother / Father], and of the Court.
That each party shall be allowed to exercise reasonable telephonic communication with said children including, but not limited to, four (4), thirty-minute telephone calls per week. The parties are restrained and enjoined from initiating, or allowing ANY other person to initiate telephonic communication to the home of the other Parent between the hours of 11PM and 7AM except in cases of emergency regarding the immediate health and welfare of said children specifically. The Parents, spouse, said children or other children, relatives, friends, live-in mates/roommates of either party, are restrained from unreasonably interfering with the rights to privacy of said children during such telephone conversations, or from listening on an extension telephone. In order to facilitate telephone contact between the parties and their children, all parties are ordered to initiate and assist their children in immediately returning phone messages attempting telephone contact with their children, from the other Parent. If at all possible, said children shall be allowed to listen to recorded messages from the other Parent.
That in the event the Parent returning said children from a court ordered parenting time or custodial period, finds that the Parent receiving said children is not at the designated child return location, at the court ordered child return time, then the Parent returning said children shall wait at least twenty (20), minutes past the court ordered return time of said children, before leaving, unless prior arrangements for late arrival have been made. Also, before leaving, the Parent returning said children shall leave a large note, in plain sight, on the other Parent's front door, stating that he/she was at the appointed location, the time he/she arrived, and the time he/she departed. Said note shall contain the signature of the Parent returning said children, and the signature, if possible, of at least one (1), adult witness. Parent returning said children shall leave the premises immediately upon delivery of said note, and shall keep a copy as evidence. The tardy Parent that was to receive said children, is then ordered to provide and/or pay for return transportation of said children for this parenting time or custodial period only, which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult.
That in the event the Parent receiving said children for a court ordered parenting time or custodial period, finds that the Parent delivering said children is not at the designated child delivery location, at the court ordered delivery time, then the Parent receiving said children shall wait twenty (20), minutes past the court ordered delivery time of said children, before leaving, unless prior arrangements for late arrival have been made. Also, before leaving, the Parent receiving said children shall leave a large note, in plain sight, on the other Parent's front door if pick-up is near the residence of the other Parent, stating that he/she was at the appointed location, the time he/she arrived, and the time he/she departed. Said note shall contain the signature of the receiving Parent, and the signature, if possible, of at least one (1), adult witness. Receiving Parent shall leave the premises immediately upon delivery of said note, and shall keep a copy of said note as evidence. The tardy Parent that was to deliver said children is then ordered to provide and/or pay for the transportation of said children for this parenting time or custodial period only, which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult.
That due to the current distance involved in delivering or receiving said children, and despite the use of a public location for pick-up and delivery of said children, each Parent shall make a complete attempt to reach the other Parent by telephone, or by going to the residence of the other Parent after the twenty (20), minute waiting period in an attempt to complete pick-up and delivery of said children if the Parent does not arrive at the child pick-up or delivery location.
That Petitioner shall exercise the Federal and State dependency tax deductions with reference to said children as long as Petitioner is providing more than fifty percent (50%), of support of said children. Should Respondent begin earning a provable wage, and begin providing fifty percent (50%), or more of the support of said children, the Federal and State dependency tax deductions shall be split between the Parents; one Parent taking the state deduction one year while the other Parent takes the Federal deduction that same year, and reversing the following year.
That in the event either Parent intends to leave said children for a period of forty-eight (48) hours or longer, that Parent shall first offer the other Parent an opportunity for additional time with said children before making other arrangements for the temporary care of said children. Parent receiving extra time with said children will provide and/or pay for transportation of said children, which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult. Parent leaving said children with the other Parent or with a temporary child care provider, shall notify that Parent of the duration of the parenting time or temporary care of said children by other persons.
That it be understood partial or reduced parenting time is more beneficial to said children than no parenting time. Should valid reason occur, such that one Parent is not able to exercise his/her entire parenting/vacation time or custodial period with said children, make-up time shall be allowed and agreed upon in writing, should the Parent request said reduction and make-up time in writing. That both Parents shall cooperate in supplying said children with the full advantage of time with the other Parent.
That each party shall provide the other party with the telephone number and address at which said children reside, and shall notify and provide the other party in advance, or within twenty-four (24) hours, of any changes of address and/or telephone number for said children. That each party shall provide the other party with the address and telephone numbers of at least three (3), emergency or alternate contact persons.
That each party shall provide the name, address and telephone number of the daycare, preschool or school, church or contact person for any activity or program, which said children attend.
That each party shall keep the other party informed of the names of all non-related persons residing at or visiting the residence of said children for a period of more than three (3), weeks.
That all schools that said children attend other than local public school shall be approved by the Parents jointly. In the event the Parents cannot agree to the selection of any other school, said children shall attend the local public school, or an appropriate alternative program provided, by the public school system.
That for the benefit and continuity of the education and learning of said children, each Parent shall cooperate, follow through, and assist said children with his/her local educational programs. Should said children be required to attend school during summer vacation, said children shall attend school at the location of the custodial Parent.
That each Parent shall provide the other Parent promptly upon being requested to do so, with information concerning the well-being of said children including, but not limited to; weekly school attendance reports, reports concerning completion of homework, copies of report cards, school meeting notices, vacation schedules, class programs, requests for conferences, results of diagnostic tests, notices of activities involving said children, samples of school work, order forms for school pictures, communications from health care providers; the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all schools, preschools, regular day care providers, all health care providers, counselors, church or other activity supervisors, and friends, schoolmates and relatives, unless specifically prohibited to do so by any friend, schoolmate or relative, for said children.
That except for brief vacations lasting no more than two (2), weeks each Parent shall be restrained from removing said children from the state of residence. If said children are to be removed from the state of residence for purposes of vacation or travel, the other Parent shall be notified at least two (2) weeks in advance. Should said children be moved temporarily from the state of residence for purposes of travel to exceed a period of two (2) weeks, prior written consent must be obtained from the other Parent, and said Parent shall have the option of requiring the consent of the Court.
That each party shall NOT deny ANY child parenting time with the other Parent because that child or other of said children are busy, not available, are being punished, are suffering an illness, or refuse to go on the scheduled parenting time or custodial period. The receiving Parent shall have the OPTION of verifying the illness of said children in person or by telephone, and shall have the option of caring for said sick children unless said sick children are under the care of a physician for serious illness, or are taking prescription medication for serious illness. Parent shall provide telephone numbers for contacting the physician currently caring for said sick children, or produce proof that said children are taking prescription medication, for verification of illness. Make up time in whole or part shall be provided to said Parent should Parent be unable to exercise the court ordered parenting time or custodial period.
That each party shall not demand or insist that parenting time or custodial periods be exercised with all four (4), of said children every time. That each of said children has the right to individual parenting time with both Parents, that said children shall have the right to parenting time with or without any other of said children in any combination whatsoever. That Parents have the right to exercise parenting time with a single child, two (2), or three (3), of said children on occasion in order to provide the best love, care and attention based on the unique and individual needs of that child or those children.
That each Parent shall allow said children to have liberal parenting times with his/her Grandparents, maternal and paternal.
That the Step-Parents of said children shall have the right to transport said children for parenting times and custodial periods, school, activities or trips, or to provide any other transportation required in the parenting and custodial care of said children. That Step-Parents shall have the right to share information with any school official or other authority or agency, physician, counselor, psychiatrist/psychologist, health care professional, activity supervisor, friend, relative or any other person concerned with the health and well-being of said children for the purposes of providing said children with proper care and supervision. That Step-Parents shall have the right to seek regular and emergency medical care for said children under the guidelines of this Order, and to consent to such care should the need arise, and a custodial Parent is not available to consent to such care. The Step-Parents shall have the right to touch, hold and carry, dress, feed, diaper, bathe, make purchases for, administer necessary medications to, and discipline said children within the guidelines of this Order, with the implied consent of the Parent residing in that home. That Step-Parents shall have the right to receive telephonic and written communication from said children without interference from any person. That Step-Parents shall NOT administer corporal punishment, or physically strike said children for any reason whatsoever.
That corporal punishment of said minor children, IF ANY AT ALL, be administered only by the natural Mother or the natural Father. Both parties are restrained from allowing ANY other person to administer corporal punishment to said minor children.
That Petitioner and Respondent are restrained and enjoined from harassing, annoying, striking with hand or object, threatening, assaulting, using verbally abusive language, or molesting the other Parent or Step-Parent in any manner whatsoever in an attempt to alarm, coerce, anger, or frighten either party, either in the presence of said children, during telephonic communication between said Parents or Step-Parent, or between a Parent and said children, by written word, or at ANY other time. The Parents are restrained and enjoined from encouraging or engaging ANY other person to harass, annoy, strike with hand or object, threaten, assault, verbally abuse or molest the other Parent or Step-Parent, in an attempt to alarm, coerce, anger, or frighten either party in any manner or at any time whatsoever. The Parents are restrained from making negative statements about the other Parent or Step-Parent in the presence of said children, and shall not allow ANY other person to make negative statements about the other Parent or Step-Parent in the presence of said children. The Parents shall not use said children or any other person except a designated messenger, to deliver any messages to the other party. The Parents are restrained and enjoined from attempting to coerce said children into false and negative beliefs about, negative or abusive behavior toward, or attempt to alienate said children from, Parent or Step-Parent, and shall not attempt to foster a lack of love or care for the other Parent or Step-Parent in any way whatsoever.
That parenting time with said children shall take into consideration the employment and expanded age-appropriate activities of said children over the age of fifteen (15).
That the Petitioner and Respondent shall not refuse to surrender said children to the other party or designated responsible adult promptly at the beginning of each of the party's parenting time, or custodial period. That primary custodial Parent shall, upon delivery of said children to the other Parent, promptly and simultaneously provide each child with an amount of clothing appropriate to the duration of the visit, including but not limited to shirts, pants or shorts, socks, shoes, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear. Said clothing shall be seasonally appropriate, and of the correct sizes, clean and in good repair. Parent shall also supply any prescription glasses, prescription or over-the-counter medication, and seasonally appropriate hat, coat and gloves. Belongings of said children shall be delivered in an appropriate container for travel. Parent shall also promptly and simultaneously provide any school books, papers or homework assignments due the following school period.
That the party returning said children from a scheduled vacation, parenting time, or custodial period shall also promptly and simultaneously return ALL belongings, clothing, toys, prescription glasses, prescription or over-the-counter medication or empty containers thereof, suitcase or carrying container, school books, papers, homework assignments, or ANY other item with which said children arrived.
That Petitioner and Respondent are prohibited and enjoined from going to the residence of the other party at any time or for any purpose other than the specific purposes set forth in this Order of this Court, unless accompanied by police or other court appointed escort, or unless specifically invited to do so by the other party or the legally married spouse of said party in writing, for purposes pertaining only to the exchange of said children or belongings of said children, or in the case of an emergency regarding said children. That Petitioner and Respondent shall leave the area of the residence of the other party promptly upon completing any business pertaining to the visit, and shall keep a copy of said invitation signed and dated by both parties.
That Petitioner and Respondent are prohibited and enjoined from entering the residence of the other party unless issued specific written invitation to do so by that party or his/her legally married spouse. That Petitioner and Respondent, upon entering the home of the other party, shall remain within the area indicated by said residing parties. That Petitioner and Respondent shall not enter the home of either party at the invitation of any child, friend, relative, roommate/live-in mate, neighbor, or baby-sitter. That upon leaving the residence area, both Parents shall retain a copy of said written invitation signed and dated by both parties.
That each party, upon receipt of mail or packages addressed to said children from the other Parent, Step-Parent, or relative of the other Parent, shall see to it that such mail or packages are given unopened to said children, or read to and opened for said children who are unable to do so. That said children shall be allowed to retain possession of any appropriate gifts given or sent by the other Parent, Step-parent or relative of the other Parent.
That both Parents shall cooperate fully in any reunification or other counseling/therapy sessions or programs which said children attend, and shall be prompt in transporting said children to and from any local appointments for said counseling/therapy.
That in the event of the death of any of said children, all decisions concerning the appropriate care of said children, and concerning the estate of said children shall be made by both Parents jointly. That in the event said children maintain a vegetative state, the decisions concerning organ donation, and the care and/or termination of said vegetative state shall be made by both Parents jointly.
That in the event of illness, accident, or death in the immediate family, additional parenting time shall be allowed so that the children may see the family member upon request or attend the funeral of the deceased family member. "Immediate Family" shall be defined as follows: (define 'immediate family' here). 50. In the event of the death of either Parent, full legal and physical custody of said children shall be retained by the surviving Parent.
1. That the costs of mediation/arbitration SHALL be allocated between the parties as determined by the arbitrator.
2. The dispute resolution process shall be commenced by notifying the other party by written request.
3. In the dispute resolution process:
a) Preference shall be given to carrying out this Parenting Plan.
b) Unless an emergency exists, the parents shall use the designated process to resolve disputes relating to implementation of the plan, except those related to financial support.
c) A written record shall be prepared of any decision reached in arbitration and shall be provided to each party.
d) The parties have the right of Appeal from the dispute resolution process to the superior court.
e) Reasonable attorney's fees SHALL be assessed against an appealing party who does not substantially better his/her position in the Appeal process.
Holiday and Vacation Schedule
That Parents shall have parenting time with said children set forth for the entire Christmas/New Year Vacation in alternating years, from the time school releases said children for said Vacation, ending the day before the next school session begins, at 8PM. Parent exercising his/her parenting time shall have the option of, and sole discretion in, sharing any portion of said Vacation time with the other Parent, to be agreed upon in writing. [Mother / Father] shall exercise, or make the decision to share said Vacation parenting time beginning in 20XX.
That Parents shall exercise parenting time with said children set forth for the entire Thanksgiving Holiday Vacation in alternating years from the time school releases said children for said Vacation, to the following Sunday at 8PM. [Mother / Father] shall exercise said parenting time beginning in 20XX.
That Parents shall alternate by year, parenting time with said children set forth for the entire Spring Break Vacation OR, shall split Spring Break Vacation time equally between them in any given year at the sole discretion of the Parent exercising his/her time, to be agreed upon in writing, beginning when school releases said children for said Vacation, ending the day before school begins again, at 8PM. [Mother / Father] shall exercise, or make the decision to share said parenting time beginning in 20XX.
That the Parents shall have the right to parenting time during each of the following Holidays and Special Days in alternating years: said children's Birthdays or appropriate substitute weekend day, Easter vacation, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July holiday weekend, Labor Day weekend, Halloween weekend. [Mother / Father] shall exercise parenting time during the Easter vacation, Mother for Memorial Day weekend, Father for Fourth of July, Mother for Labor Day, Father for Halloween night in 20XX, and Parents shall alternate these times during the following year of 20XX.
That Parents shall have the right to exercise parenting time with said children during all Religious Holy Days, pertaining to their particular Religion, not already mentioned in this Order.
That each Parent shall have the right to exercise parenting time with said children on the day of, or appropriate substitute weekend day for, said Parent's birthday, and on Father's and Mother's Day respectively.
(see # 11, 12 of the 'Fixed Custody and Parenting Time Schedule' attached hereto for additional information concerning transportation and pick-up/delivery of said children).
That Maternal and Paternal Grandparents shall exercise visitation time with said children on Grandparent's day in alternating years. Maternal Grandparents shall begin in 20XX.