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Sample Parenting Plan (Comprehensive)

This is an example of a comprehensive Parenting Plan geared towards Joint legal and physical custody. Most foreseeable situations are covered in this Parenting Plan, but you will want to read it carefully and make changes based on your particular situation, then have your attorney review it. If you're pro se (without an attorney), get a paralegal or Legal Aid lawyer to review it.




COMES NOW the Petitioner, (your name here), by Counsel (your attorney's name), and the Respondent (ex's name here), by Counsel (ex's attorney's name), and moves the Court to approve the following Fixed Custody and Permanent Parenting Plan:

That joint legal responsibility and joint physical responsibility for said child(ren), (child's name), (child's name) be ordered.

That natural Parents, Petitioner: (your name here) and Respondent: (ex's name here), 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:
  1. That said children shall reside with Petitioner from Saturday at 8PM until Wednesday morning at 8AM. That said children shall reside with Respondent from Wednesday morning at 8AM until Saturday at 8PM.

  2. Holidays, Birthdays and Vacations will follow the (your court's name/jurisdiction) Court System's Standard Visitation Order whenever a mutually agreed upon schedule cannot be determined in advance. Deviation from the Standard Visitation Order for Holidays, Birthdays and Vacations must be agreed to, in writing, by both Parents and clearly communicated at least two (2) weeks prior to the holiday, birthday or vacation date.

  3. Parent commencing his/her parenting period is to provide and/or pay for transportation of said children, which he/she may delegate to a responsible adult. The pick-up location shall be the Parent's home who's parenting period has concluded unless specifically set forth in writing and agreed upon by both Parents. The Parent beginning his/her parenting period shall leave the premises immediately after receiving the children for his/her parenting period.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 said Parent be unable to exercise the Court ordered parenting time or custodial period.

  7. Both parties shall have the right of first refusal to care for the minor children if the absence of either party should be necessary during their normal parenting time. The use of baby-sitters, family members, or subsequent spouses will be secondary to this right. That in the event either Parent intends to leave said children for a period of twenty-four (24) 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, 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.

  8. That the parties shall not plan or arrange any event or opportunity whatsoever during the other Parent's scheduled parenting time, nor shall either party tell said children of any event or opportunity which is scheduled or could be scheduled for said children during the other Parent's parenting time or custodial period. That the parties shall not allow or attempt to persuade said children to ask for or demand an alternate or reduced parenting time or custodial period for the purposes of attending any other event, in the case where said children are already aware of said event or opportunity.

  9. That each of said children has the right to individual parenting time with either Parent, 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 of said children on special occasions in order to provide the best love, care and attention based on the unique and individual needs of that child or those children, when agreed upon by both Parents.

  10. The Petitioner and Respondent are enjoined from interfering in any way with the other Parent's Court ordered parenting time or custodial period, and from interfering with legal access of said Parent or Step-Parent to said children.

  11. That the Petitioner and Respondent shall not in any manner, or for any reason whatsoever, suggest or demand that the other party should not exercise all or a partial portion of his/her Court ordered parenting time or custodial period with said children.

  12. 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).

  13. That neither party shall 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.

  14. That the said children's property, whether given to them as gifts, received in payment for tasks performed, or other, is their property, and it's respective disposition is theirs to designate. The children shall designate where their property will be kept. The party concluding his/her parenting period shall not refuse to surrender ANY items belonging to the said children. ALL items sent with the said children, for their benefit or use, including but not limited to medicines, eyeglasses, orthodontia or auditory appliances, clothing, shoes, coats, boots, school books, library books or any other item which belongs to the said children, shall be promptly made available to the children for their parenting time with the other party.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. That each Parent shall allow said children to have liberal parenting times with his/her Grandparents, maternal and paternal.

  20. 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 stepparents shall have the right to receive telephonic and written communication from said children without interference from any person. That stepparents shall NOT administer corporal punishment, or physically strike said children for any reason whatsoever.

  21. 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.

  22. Neither party shall change the residence of said children to a location outside the State of Indiana or one hundred (100) miles or more from the county in which the parties' children reside without the written consent of the parties filed with the Court in the above-captioned cause, or upon petition and notice filed pursuant to Ind. Code 31-1-

  23. 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 either Parent will notify the other should any of the said children miss more than two (2) days of school for any reason. That should said school aged children NOT attend school regularly, that said children will reside with Petitioner during months in which school is in session.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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, this includes, but is not limited to; tutoring, additional educational instruction or remedial education. Should said children be required to attend school during summer vacation, transportation to and from school, and any additional needs of the said children shall be the responsibility of the Parent exercising their parenting period.

  27. That the Parent with whom the children are staying shall be responsible for daily care and shall make necessary decisions regarding additional educational opportunities 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, during their respective parenting periods. 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.

  28. The parties further agree that their children would benefit from post-high school educational opportunities, including, but not limited to, university, college, vocational, nursing etc. Both parties further agree that their children have the aptitude to benefit from post-high school educational opportunities. Lastly, the parties agree that each party should be responsible for fifty percent (50%) of the net post-high school educational expenses of their children, through a four year program, which expenses shall include, but not be limited to, tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation expenses, and a reasonable weekly allowance. In determining what amounts the parties are equally responsible for, the parties agree that their children shall apply annually for student loans and that their children shall be primarily responsible for their repayment of those student loans, which shall be their children's contribution towards these post-high school education expenses. Further, the parties agree that they shall be given equal credit for any and all college scholarships, grants, fellowships, and student loans that their children receive in order to defray the total cost of the post-high school education opportunity. After application of the student loan proceeds, in the manner dictated by the student loan program, and after application of any other credits as against these expenses, including the scholarships, fellowships or grants, the parties shall thereafter contribute equally to each expense as it becomes due. The parties shall endeavor to agree on this mechanism, but, failing agreement, each shall tender their one-half (1/2) contribution to the child who is receiving the benefit of the payment. The children shall then be responsible for the proper payment of the specific expense.

  29. 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.

  30. That religious training and theology of (your religious preference) be pursued by said children. Both Parents shall show, by example, their support of their respective churches by ensuring that their children REGULARLY attend services and observe holidays.

  31. That the Parents shall provide address and telephone number for contacting said children during ANY trip lasting two (2) days or more, and will notify the other Parent as to the duration of said trip. Parent shall initiate and facilitate telephone communication between said children and the other Parent during such trips. That whenever said children will be away from either Parent's home for a period of two (2) days or more without a Parent, that Parent shall provide the name, address and telephone number of the person said children are visiting.

  32. 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 the purpose 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.

  33. That Petitioner shall provide any and all available health care insurance coverage for said children either through employment or any other program offered to him at reasonable or no cost. Additionally, Petitioner shall provide any and all uninsured health care costs. Respondent shall cooperate fully and completely with Petitioner in allowing said children to take full advantage of available regular, preventive and emergency care coverage. Respondent shall not frustrate or encumber respondent with undue expense without consultation, this includes but is not limited to expenditures related to cosmetic surgery or other non-life threatening medical procedures not covered by said insurance coverage. Petitioner shall provide insurance coverage and uninsured health care expenses for the said children until such time as they are emancipated adults.

  34. That each Parent shall permit and encourage communication by the other Parent with ALL doctors, clinics, school nurses, counselors, and other healthcare providers regarding the health and welfare of said children.

  35. That each Parent shall provide advance notification to the other Parent about proposed and forthcoming medical care, and each Parent shall notify the other Parent within twelve (12) hours of any illness or accident requiring medical attention or any medical emergency involving said children, and within two (2) hours of any life threatening illness or accident. That each Parent shall immediately notify the other in the event of the death of said children.

  36. 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.

  37. In the event of the death of either Parent, full legal and physical custody of said children shall be retained by the surviving Parent.

  38. That each party shall see that ALL state, legal, medical, surgical, dental, psychiatric, psychological, counseling, test, criminal and school records for said children are available and accessible to both parties. That both Parents shall provide to the other, copies of Birth Certificates, Social Security cards, and Driver's Licenses of each of the said children.

  39. During each period in which a party has physical custody, that party shall be responsible for all ordinary, daily expenses incurred by or for the benefit of said minor children.

  40. Petitioner and Respondent agree to share equally expenses for the children for the following types of activities which the children are or may become involved in during the course of their upbringing: music lessons, sports gear for athletic activities in and outside of school, swimming lessons, volleyball lessons, school trips, gymnastic lessons, summer camps, increase in auto insurance premiums attributable to the parties' children becoming licensed drivers, etc.

  41. Petitioner shall have exclusive right to claim (child's name) as his dependents for federal and state income tax purposes.

  42. Respondent shall have exclusive right to claim (child's name) as her dependents for federal and state income tax purposes.

  43. Work Related ChildCare expenses; both parties agree to offer the other the opportunity to care for the children, barring this, both parties agree to employ certified and licensed ChildCare professionals where they are available and to pay their individual costs.

  44. As to provisional needs of the children; All of the said children's clothing will be provided by the Petitioner. The clothing will be appropriate to the duration of the visit, including but not limited to shirts, pants or shorts, socks, shoes, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear, coats, hats, gloves boots, etc. Said clothing shall be seasonally appropriate, and of the correct sizes, clean and in good repair.

  45. Recognizing the need for communication in order to derive the most benefit out of the joint legal custody order of the Court, the parties agree to:

    1. Recognize that they have a joint duty to determine the children's upbringing, including education, health care and religious training.

    2. Petitioner and Respondent shall consult together frequently, by telephone or correspondence, if personal conferences are impractical, in an effort to mutually agree to in regard to the general health and welfare, education and development of the minor children to the end that, insofar as possible, they may adopt a mutually harmonious policy in regard to the said children's upbringing.

    3. Each party shall notify the other party of any serious illness or of any accident befalling said children.

    4. Neither Petitioner or Respondent shall attempt, or condone any attempt, directly or indirectly, by any artifice or subterfuge whatsoever, to estrange the children from the other party, or to injure or impair the mutual love and affection of said children.

    5. That at all times, the parties shall encourage and foster in the children sincere respect and affection for both parties, and shall not hamper the natural development of the children's love and respect for the other Parent.

    6. Petitioner and Respondent shall give each other immediate access from the other, or from a third party, to records and information pertaining to the minor children, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, health, school or educational records, and both parties shall participate in all school activities relating to said children. Both Parents shall have the right to participate in non-school activities with said children. Each of the parties shall keep the other informed of the special activities involving the children.

    7. Each of the parties agree to keep the other party currently advised of the other's residence and business address, telephone numbers and the whereabouts on vacations of said children.

    8. Each party shall be entitled to speak to the children by telephone at reasonable times and intervals when the children are physically with, or subject to the control of, the other party.

    9. Each party will specifically recognize that their respective powers and responsibilities of joint legal custody will not be exercised for the purposes of frustrating, denying, or controlling in any manner the social development of the other Parent. The Parents shall exert their best efforts to work cooperatively in future plans of the children, consistent with the BEST INTERESTS of said children, and amicably resolving disputes as they may arise.

    10. In the event that either party remarries, that party's spouse shall be apprised of this agreement and said party shall exert every reasonable effort to ensure that his or her spouse honors and respects the terms of this agreement. Further, each party agrees that they shall be responsible for the actions of any subsequent spouse as those affect the parties' children.


All parties agree that the costs of mediation/arbitration SHALL be allocated between the parties as determined by the arbitrator.

The dispute resolution process shall be commenced by notifying the other party by written request.

In the dispute resolution process:
  1. Preference shall be given to carrying out this Parenting Plan.

  2. 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.

  3. A written record shall be prepared of any decision reached in arbitration and shall be provided to each party.

  4. The parties have the right of Appeal from the dispute resolution process to the Court.

  5. Reasonable attorney's fees SHALL be assessed against an appealing party who does not substantially better his/her position in the Appeal process.
Petitioners' signature

Date: ________________________________

Respondent's signature

Date: ________________________________

Subscribed and sworn to before me on _____________, 20____


WHEREFORE the parties, by counsel, move the Court to approve this Fixed Custody and Permanent Parenting Plan as an Order of this Court, and for all other just and proper relief in the premises.

____________________________________ __________________________________

(Petitioner's Attorney's name)

(Reespondent's Attorney's name)