One of the main worries for parents when they decide to separate is what will happen with the children. The starting point is that a child should be able to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, provided it is safe for them. The children’s safety and their physical and emotional well being comes first.
Parenting plans might not be suitable if there has been:
• Any form of domestic abuse or violence
• Any actual or attempted child abduction
• Any child abuse
• The abuse of drugs, alcohol or other substance misuse
• Any other safety or welfare concerns.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a written plan worked out between parents (and sometimes grandparents and other family members) after they separate. The Plan covers practical issues of parenting.
• It asks you to think about your children and, based on their sex, ages and personalities, what they are likely to need.
• A Parenting Plan must put the best interests of the child first.
• A Parenting Plan sets out a shared commitment to your children and their future.
Why make a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan can help you in dealings with your children’s other parent or carer.
• Divorce and separation are painful for everyone involved – particularly children, who need support, love and good relationships with both parents.
• Conflict between parents hurts children.
• It is very important that everyone has some certainty about the future.
• A written Parenting Plan, worked out between parents, will help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children.
• It will help everyone involved to know what is expected of them and it will be a valuable reference as time passes and circumstances change.
What will be in the Parenting Plan?
Your Plan will set out practical decisions about children’s care in areas such as:
• communication and dealing with differences;
• living arrangements – who your child will spend time with (including other family members such as grandparents), how often and when;
• health care; and
• emotional well-being.
If you think a Parenting Plan could help your family, contact us. We can help.