A Parenting Plan is usually used to set out contact arrangements for children, during term time, holidays, special dates etc. It can also be used by parents in respect of other childcare issues.
Writing a Parenting Plan involves parents working together to find solutions/come to an agreement in respect of the above. It encourages them to think carefully about family life after separation or divorce.
Below are the mains reasons Parenting Plans can have a positive impact on family life:
- Parenting Plans are designed to put your children’s best interests at the forefront of your decision making and encourage you to think about their needs at every stage.
- They are free and easy to download at www.cafcass.gov.uk and can also be completed online, making it as simple as possible for both parents to access and collaborate via phone, email or in person.
- Parenting Plans open up the conversation between parents and gives them a framework for discussion and debate.
- They are designed to be used by parents between themselves or with the support of a family mediator, who can help them work out solutions to issues they are finding it hard to resolve.
- They will inevitably raise issues that neither parent had anticipated such as who will look after the children if they are off school sick or how will a new partner be introduced to the family.
- Parenting Plans give everyone an element of certainty about the future and how family occasions such as Christmas, holidays and parents’ evenings will be managed.
- They provide a reference point and reminder of the decisions that were made, even when everyone’s situation has moved on.
- Grandparents and other family members can be included in the discussions if they have an important role in family life and childcare.
- Parenting Plans cover arrangements for children and co-parenting but does not stray into contentious territory such as dividing assets and finances.
Court proceedings do not solve all issues you may wish to address nor do they assist with communication as parents. Family Mediation is a process to assist with all aspects of your parenting relationship and can help you to develop a dialogue as parents to help you then address issue direct with the other parent going forwards.
Please note that here at Barnes Clark Family Law, Sally Clark is trained in child inclusive mediation which can give children a voice in the decision making too, without making them feel like they are taking sides.
For further information, or to arrange a legal or a mediation appointment please contact us on 01274 861096 (Liversedge) or 01423 637272 (Harrogate) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.