What is a parenting plan and why is it useful?

Posted on: July 31st, 2021

What is a parenting plan and why is it useful?

Divorce and separation can be an emotionally challenging time for all parties involved: especially the children. By implementing a parenting plan in the earliest possible stage of separation it allows for the parties to address any issues or potential conflicts that could arise at a later date. It’s also important to be cautious that the child is not exposed to any conflict or disagreements through the separation, as this can harm their emotional welfare.


What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written child custody document negotiated by the parents after a separation. It covers all the details that will be put in place to allow the parents to co-parent effectively with the best interest of the children in mind. 

A good parenting plan will always primarily focus on the child’s needs despite the personal opinions of both parents. In addition, a parenting plan can also be amended as your children’s needs will change, provided that both parties agree on the new arrangement.

Having the ability to work through the plan harmoniously is a great starting point and will also ensure that both parties are satisfied with the outcome. However, in the event the parties cannot communicate then mediation can be used to help the process. 

What to include in a parenting plan? 

A parenting plan that is well executed will address the custodial rights and responsibilities that will be taken on by each parent who has joint custody of the child.

Topics discussed in the parenting plan may include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical custody (How the child’s time will be divided between separate households, as well as, holidays and school terms) 
  • The handover from one parent to the other: schedule and location.
  • Changes to the typical custody plan (e.g overnight stays with another relative during the designated parent’s custody time) 
  • Authority over decisions including education, travel and psychical and mental health-care decisions. 

In England and Wales the Children and Family Advisory And Support Service (CAFASS), provides a document Parenting Plans Putting your children first: a guide for separating parents. Which helps give separated parents advice and guidance on the arrangements that should be made within their parenting plan. 

If you have any questions or queries regarding parenting plans or family law we are here to help to get in touch with one of our team. 


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If you require any of our legal services or you're not sure where to get started, please contact us at our Redcar High Street office and our solicitors will guide you every step of the way.

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