What To Include When Creating A Parenting Plan
Posted: 13th February 2020
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
When creating a Parenting Plan, the overall goal should be to put in place a Parenting Plan that is in the best interests of your children. It is vital though to also consider what arrangements are practical, whilst still meeting the needs of your children.
Parenting Plans allow for flexibility to make adjustments to arrangements according to the changing needs of your children. Court Orders are difficult to vary unless the other parent consents to the proposed variations.
Drafting a Parenting Plan requires forward thinking. Consider future issues and provide for conflict resolution strategies relating to the children’s changing needs.
What To Include When Creating a Parenting Plan
Below is a list of common issues that should be discussed between you and the other parent when considering what issues need to be included in your Parenting Plan.
1. Living Arrangements (short term and long term)
- Where will the children live? If they are to live with both parents, how will the time be structured?
- If the children are living primarily with one parent, what time will the children spend with the other parent? Is the time spent sufficient to maintain a relationship with that parent and allow that parent to have significant involvement in their lives?
- How is parental responsibility to be allocated? Who will make major decisions on behalf of the children?
2. Special Occasions
- Discuss what are special days for you and what time would you like to spend with the children on these special days.
- Most families consider special days to include birthdays, Christmas or Easter. Are there other days though that have special meaning to you? Do you always want to have the children on Australia Day or Grand Final Day?
- School Holidays and the practical arrangements of who will take school holidays as annual leave should also be considered.
3. Maintaining Contact with the Other Parent
- How will the children keep in touch with the parent they are not living with that parent? Options could include scheduled phone calls, emails, letters or even Facetime.
4. Maintaining Contact with Other Family Members
- How will the children maintain relationship/contact with their extended family? This is especially important if the children are close with their grandparents. Consider whether grandparents should be consulted to offer assistance with managing school holidays and school pickups?
- What are the children’s present and future needs in terms of their schooling?
- What type of school should they attend?
- Is it expected by one parent that they will attend a private school? Is that parent prepared to pay these costs?
- How will homework be managed?
6. Children’s Extra-Curricular Activities
- What sports or activities are the children interested in and are there any new activities that are likely in the future?
- Who will pay for the costs of membership and equipment?
- Who will attend the children’s sporting activities and who will take them to training?
- How will each parent give/receive information about the children’s schedules?
7. Financial Support
- How will the day-to-day costs be shared (e.g. food, child’s allowance, etc.)?
- Who pays for school fees (e.g. tuition fee, miscellaneous charges, the cost for camps, uniforms, etc.)?
- How will medical costs be funded?
- How will emergency or unexpected costs be met?
8. Parenting Decisions
- What parenting matters require joint consultation?
- Should there be regular meetings set up to discuss matters about the children?
- Should children be involved in these discussions?
- How will issues about the children be communicated with each other (e.g. through Family Lawyers, mediators, direct mails, phone calls, etc.)?
- What are the family’s emergency procedures?
Creating a Parenting Plan Based on Your Family’s Circumstances
As each family is different, the most effective Parenting Plan for you will be based on your unique circumstances. The information above is a guide only.
We highly recommend consulting with a Family Lawyer when creating a Parenting Plan. Please call us if you need help creating a parenting plan that is right for your family.