A parenting plan is a written agreement worked out between co-parents that covers the practical issues of parenting. Co-parents are those who share the duties of bringing up children, especially those who are separated or not in a relationship.
A parenting plan can help because it clearly shows what arrangements and actions you have agreed to meet the needs of your children. This can sometimes mean that you can avoid having to go to court to reach such agreement. It can help you to think about what is in the best interests of your children and to put the needs of your children first.
The many benefits of making a parenting plan together include:
- helping everyone involved know what is expected of them
- creating a clear agreement to refer back to, and
- setting out practical decisions about your children, such as living arrangements, education and health care.
If you do go to court in the future, it is very likely that judges will expect you to have started a parenting plan.
The parenting plan should be completed online. It works by one parent starting a plan and making some suggestions before sending their proposal to their co-parent. This process can continue until you reach agreement over some, most, or all areas. The parenting plan can be downloaded and shared with other people including your children, a mediator, a Cafcass Family Court Adviser or the court itself.
If you cannot use the online plan then you can download a Word version to print.
Some parents and carers may complete a parenting plan as part of their learning on a Planning Together for Children course. Planning Together for Children is for those who are referred to the course by a family court adviser or by the court itself.