All separated parents should consider parenting plans. Do you need one?
Answer these three questions to find out
- Do you find it difficult to talk to your former partner and co-parent?
- Do you disagree on some things with regards to the care and well-being of your child?
- Do you have Court Orders that you are no longer following or that you are having trouble following?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may need a Parenting Plan.
Parenting Plans are a very important tool to help co-parents to collaborate more effectively on the care for their child. They can also be used to change the terms of a Court Order and avoid the risk of a breach of the order.
We understand that if you have just separated or if your post separation parenting has been difficult collaborative co-parenting seems impossible. Nothing is impossible!
It is well worth the effort to negotiate a Parenting Plan but first what is a Parenting Plan?
What are Parenting Plans?
A Parenting Plan is a written and signed agreement about care of a child or children. How complex or simple your Parenting Plan is will depend on what your family needs to look after your children with less conflict.
Generally we say the higher the conflict and disagreement between you the more detailed your parenting plan should be.
You can make a Parenting Plans between:
- a mother and father.
- a same-sex couple who are parents of a child.
- a parent or parents and grandparents or other relatives of a child has kinship care arrangements
- if children’s services are involved with your family they may use a parenting plan as part of your re-unification plan.
Who signs the Parenting Plan?
Parenting Plans are a written and dated document that records the way that the child will be cared for and must be signed and dated by the parents and anyone else who has parental responsibility.
What legal status does a Parenting Plan have?
They have a special meaning under the Family Law Act 1975.
Get more information about Post Separation Parenting – Request our free thirty-seven page Post Separation Parenting Guide. Click Here to ask your electronic copy.
Your Parenting Plan will deal with matters such as:
- the person your child will live with
- the time your child spends with other people including their other parent
- whether the parents retain joint parental responsibility or if sole parental responsibility is given to one of the parents
- how the people responsible for the care of a child will consult with each other about decisions to be made about the child’s care, education, health and other major decisions
- the communication the child will have with other people such as parents when they are not with them
- how the child will be supported financially (maintenance)
- the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the parenting plan
- how the plan will be changed as the child grows and their needs change or the needs of any of the people named in the plan change
- any other aspect of the child’s care, welfare and development or relating to the responsibilities of the carers for the child
Why do we need a Parenting Plan?
Your Parenting Plan makes it very clear how to share care for your child after you separate from their other Parent. It helps to prevent conflict and can be adjusted as your needs or the needs of your child change.
What is the process to get a Parenting Plan?
We can help you to create one based on an existing Parenting Agreement or we can work with you through a template that identifies the types of things other parents have included in their Parenting Plans. If it is safe to do so we will facilitate a joint meeting to discuss and negotiate a new agreement or we can work with you both separately using our Facilitated Negotiation process.