Parenting Plans

​One of the most difficult challenges facing parents at the time of separation is deciding how they will divide responsibility for and time with their children. Parents sometimes fear that loss of their adult relationship will also mean loss of their parent-child relationship. They are also concerned about the potential negative impact of their separation on their children’s healthy development.

Before designing a plan for your family, you should consider your unique situation. Raising children is difficult for all parents. When parents live in separate homes the challenges are greater because relationships are more complicated. Sometimes one parent disagrees about how much time a child should spend with the other. If you are unable to reach an agreement on your Parenting Plan, you may want to seek the assistance of a Mediator in negotiating a Parenting Plan.

Even if you are certain that you can work things out as they occur, having a detailed plan to fall back on is the best way to guard against conflict in the future.

Information divided into age groupings based upon developmental norms that may be helpful in developing a parenting plan is also available at Planning for Parenting Time – Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart and Basic Parenting Plan Guide.

NOTICE TO READERS: These considerations do not provide legal opinions or legal advice and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the advice of licensed, legal professionals. Neither the Idaho Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts, nor the authors are engaged in rendering legal or other professional services through this guide.

The Idaho Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the authors do not warrant that the information herein is complete or accurate and do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors, inaccuracies, or omissions that may appear in this guide.

Laws and interpretations of laws change frequently, and research may be ongoing and updated. The material contained in these pages may carry with it important legal consequences. Users of this material are solely responsible for determining the applicability of any information contained in this guide to their situation and are strongly encouraged to seek professional legal and other expert assistance in resolving their parenting issues.

These parenting time considerations are intended to provide helpful ideas in making decisions about parenting time. A parenting plan is a document that states when the children will be with each parent (parenting time or physical custody) and how major decisions will be made (legal custody).

These materials contain information for crafting developmentally sensitive parenting plans for parents to use in reaching agreements or presenting proposals to the court. Attorneys, mental health professionals, mediators, and judges may also find the parenting time plans useful in resolving family court disputes. Parents are encouraged to read this material and seek additional information and advice in order to make the best decisions for their children. This guide will help parents reduce conflict and reach agreements more easily

These considerations are a tool for you to use to design a parenting plan that will work best for you and your children.

Remember, these considerations:

  • Are tools for parents;
  • Are NOT "the law";

  • DO NOT prohibit or limit parents or judges from creating parenting plans that differ from the sample plans presented here;
  • DO NOT mandate minimum or maximum amount of parenting time for either parent;
  • MAY NOT be helpful in all circumstances.