What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a negotiated agreement between parents that can help them to decide upon the parenting responsibilities after their divorce.
The plan is mutually agreed between parents, normally with the aid of a trained mediator. A parenting plan is not set in stone, and may include arrangements for changing the plan at a future date.
In fact, flexibility is the key in producing a good parenting plan to make sure that the children’s needs are being met.
There are several advantages in producing a parenting plan:-
What should be included in a parenting plan?
A parenting plan should include all aspects of looking after children.
This can be divided up into the short term, medium terms and long term needs. In the short term you will need to make sure that a child’s needs are being met in terms of taking to, and collecting from school or nursery and in terms of eating and sleeping arrangements.
In the medium term there may be decisions to be made on which school children will attend or whether they are going to be inducted into a particular religion, perhaps through baptism.
In the long tem, the plan should consider the child’s financial future. Perhaps they will be going to university, or you may wish them to inherit property.
The best thing about parenting plans is their flexibility. Different parents, and children, have different needs.
It may be that you feel that you agree on every aspect of your child’s upbringing. However, difficulties can emerge in the future and it makes sense to include as much as possible in the plan.
It is better to have too much detail rather than too little as, in the latter case, disagreements may occur in the future. These can be hard to resolve, and may result in costly legal battles.
A good parenting plan should include:-
Who can help me to complete a parenting plan?
If you have decided to produce a parenting plan a trained mediator is the best person to enable you to complete it. A mediator will talk to you and your ex-partner about the issues that need to be resolved in terms of you and your children. They will also be aware of the major types of issues that should be included in the plan, and whether you will need a number of mediation sessions to draw up the plan, or whether only a few sessions are needed.
What are the next steps?
If you have decided to produce a parenting plan there are many sources of information to help you. CAFCASS (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) produce a guide that can help you to complete your parenting plan. They advise that you use an expert mediator in order to do so,
After you have consulted information, or to find out more, you should contract us for an initial appointment. We can put you in touch immediately with one of our expert mediators who can help you and your ex-partner to put together a parenting plan for your children’s present situation, as well as their future.