A parenting plan is a written agreement outlining the custodial rights of both parents. These rights cover both child custody and child visitation. While it is a common misconception that a parenting plan only outlines the time a child spends with each parent, good parenting plans also include detailed information on other issues such as who will claim the children on taxes and how responsibility for health care is handled. The more detailed and specific a parenting plan is, the less likely that there will be problems in the future.

Once a parenting plan has been signed by both parents and a judge, it has the same force as a court order. Because of this, it is important that you do not simply stop complying with an aspect of the parenting plan if you disagree with it. Even if your situation has changed significantly, you will still be considered to be defying a court order.

However, courts do recognize that children get older and life circumstances can change. A parenting plan is not set in stone, and parents may jointly submit modifications to the court for approval. Even if both parents cannot come to an agreement, the parenting plan can still be brought before a family law court to be reevaluated.