In this series of articles, I am going to discuss the options available for separated parents to enable them to co-parent. In my last article ‘Co-parenting and shared care – is it possible?‘ I discussed co-parenting and being able to reach an agreement to best meet the needs of your child. In this article I will be discussing parenting plans and using such a plan to record the agreement reached in writing.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a plan that can be entered into voluntarily between parents. It enables parents to resolve the arrangements for their child amicably and formally record them so that they are both working together for the benefit of their child.
The plan can include anything that the parents want it to and can include:
– living arrangements (where the child lives and the sharing of time between the parents)
– education (which school the child will attend both at primary and secondary)
– healthcare (which Doctor or Dentist the child will be registered with)
– finances (which parent pays for what, pocket money etc)
Advantages of a parenting plan
- It enables the parents to reach agreement and record the agreement reached in writing
- It supports a co-parenting approach
- It focuses on your child
- It enables both parents to have something to refer to and sets out what is expected of them
- There are no court proceedings
- Step parents and wider family members can be included in the plan
- It can be updated at any time as your child’s needs change
- A parenting plan is not legally binding and a parent could decide to do something completely different after it is entered into.
If you wanted to look at a parenting plan to set our the issues you have agreed for your child, Cafcass (who are the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) have produced a template which is accessible online.
It is always advised that legal advice is obtained before entering into such agreement and at Stephens Scown we have lawyers that could help with preparing a parenting plan for you to advise you on its terms. If you would like help and support please contact our specialist Children team who will be happy to help.