Parenting Plan

If you are not yet separated, download two copies (at end of article) of the parenting plan and fill it in individually. Try to be as fair and cooperative as possible, and keep in mind the best interests of the children. Then compare your answers. Acknowledge the answers you agree on and work out solutions to questions where you have differing answers. You may like to involve a trusted mutual friend, mediator or counsellor to help you reach an agreement.

Sometimes realising the implications of splitting up can cause parents to reconsider separating. If this is the case discuss your thoughts with your partner as soon as possible, before there is too much hurt or anger to change the course of events. Separation or divorce will affect you and your children for the rest of your lives. You need to be certain that you can no longer live together. If there are any doubts discuss them together or see a relationship counsellor or mediator.

If you are already separated you may like to use the parenting plan to go through questions you have not yet considered and talk about those together.

 

These are our children:

Name………………………………………………………………..      Date of birth………………………
Name…………………………………………………………………    Date of birth………………………
Name…………………………………………………………………    Date of birth………………………
Name…………………………………………………………………    Date of birth………………………

 

We recognise that our children have the right to:

  • An independent, meaningful and positive relationship with us both
  • A stable and secure home with each of us
  • Age-appropriate information about the separation, without any blame, and to be told about changes that will happen in their lives
  • Spend as much time as possible with each parent on a regular predictable basis
  • Be free from the damage of parental conflict and know that they will not have to take sides.
  • Be able to maintain contact with their extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and close family friends
  • Feel loved by both of us and be reassured that the break up is not their fault

As parents we agree to:

  • Recognise the importance of our children having two parents in their lives
  • Realise the importance of jointly agreeing arrangements in the parenting plan focussing on our children’s best interests. Be willing to negotiate and compromise where we differ in opinion (possibly with the help of a trusted relative, friend or mediator).
  • Accept responsibility for meeting our children’s emotional and physical needs
  • Protect our children from witnessing conflict between us
  • Not make negative comments or criticise each other in front of the children
  • Cooperate and communicate respectfully in the best interests of the children
  • Find other adults to support us emotionally, so we don’t rely on the children for our support
  • Help our children deal with any issues and emotions they experience as a result of the split
  • Introduce any new partners gradually and sensitively, with the understanding that they will support our children’s relationship with both parents
  • Meet our children’s changing needs as they mature and grow up by reviewing the parenting plan on (date) …………………………………..

Signature of parent…………………………………………………………………    Date…………………

 

Signature of parent…………………………………………………………………    Date…………………

 

1. Living Arrangements

Where will each parent live?

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What times and days will the children be spending with Mum?

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What times and days will the children be spending with Dad?

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(See the weekly, monthly and annual charts)

What are the arrangements for weekends?

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What are the arrangements for school holidays?

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What are the arrangements for Bank Holidays and school inset (teacher training) days?

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What are the arrangements for Christmas and Birthdays?
Will arrangements be reversed on alternate years?

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What are the arrangements for other special days? (Parent’s birthdays, grandparent’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s day or extended-family events?)

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When the children are with one parent what contact will they have with the other parent? (Phone, email, texts, Skype) Would we like to agree any guidelines?

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Are there times when we would prefer to restrict contact with the other parent? (When the child is angry or upset / close to bedtime /on holiday?)

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Do the children need to be kept together or will there be times when they are with different parents?

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How will the children be told about the arrangements? (Will we do this together or separately?)

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How will the children be transported from one home to the other?

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Who will take the children to after-school activities, parties, tea at friends, sleepovers and sporting activities?

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What will happen if changes need to be made in advance to arrangements?
(And how much notice is required)

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What will happen if one of us is not able to look after the children as agreed? (Such as in an emergency)

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When one of us is not able to look after the children will the other parent be given the opportunity (the right of first refusal) to care for them? (Or will the responsible parent arrange child-care?)

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Any other matters regarding living arrangements:

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2. Holidays

Is it OK for the children to go on holiday / be taken abroad by either of us? Are there any conditions or requirements?

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Who will keep the passports and other important documents? (Birth certificate, NHS Number certificate, National Insurance card, school reports, medical documents)

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Any other matters regarding holidays:

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3. Contact with extended family and friends

What contact will children have with extended family members?

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What contact will children have with family friends?

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Will anyone else be involved in looking after our children? (Friends, neighbours, babysitters, child-minders, relatives, new partners) If so, when?
(See sheet of contact details)

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Any other matters regarding contact with friends and family:

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4. Religion and Culture

What arrangements would we like for our children’s religion or culture? (Will it alter when the children are with different parents?)

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Is there any religious training / lessons we would like our children to attend? And what are the arrangements / contact details?

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What special religious festivals or events are important, and what are the arrangements

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What arrangements are there for training in any languages?

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Any other matters regarding religion or culture:

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5. School / Nursery

What will the school / nursery be told about the separation and arrangements for the children?

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Who will take the children to school / nursery and who will collect them?

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How will the school / nursery keep us both informed about educational progress / problems / school events?

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Will we attend parents evenings together, separately or alternately?

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What arrangements will be made for special school events? (Sports days, assemblies, school plays)

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Are there any out-of-school activities that our children will attend and what are the arrangements?

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What will happen about open days /sports matches / shows or events associated with our children’s out-of school activities? (Who will attend and how will we both be informed?)

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How will we choose future schools?

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How will we both be involved in school related issues such as GCSE choices, trips and events?

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Any other matters about the children’s school, nursery or education:

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6. Health

Who will arrange routine medical appointments? (such as vaccinations and check-ups)

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Who will arrange routine dental appointments?

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Who will arrange routine optician’s appointments?

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Who will arrange any routine hospital / therapy appointments if required? Who will attend?

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Who will look after the children if they are sick?

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If one of our children needs a doctor’s appointment who will arrange it?
When and how will the other parent be informed?

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If one of our children is taken seriously ill or needs emergency treatment what would happen? When and how will the other parent be informed?

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Any other matters about our children’s health care:

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7. Money

How will our finances be sorted out fairly to ensure we have sufficient money to meet our needs and our children have two homes?

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How will we afford these new living arrangements?

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How will we pay the mortgage in the future?

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How will investments and savings be divided?

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How will we meet the fees for our divorce?

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What will happen to our credit card debts?

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What regular payments will be made for the day to day costs of raising the children and how will this be arranged?

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What arrangements are there to meet the following costs?

Child-care costs ………………………………………………………………………………….
Nursery / School fees ……………………………………………………………………………
School lunches …………………………………………………………………………………..
School uniform ……………………………………………………………………………………
Sports equipment / kit ……………………………………………………………………………
School trips ………………………………………………………………………………………..
Shoes ……………………………………………………………………………………………….
Clothes ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
After school activities ……………………………………………………………………………..
Religious education costs ……………………………………………………………………….
Travel ……………………………………………………………………………………………….
Larger items such as computer, bicycle, instruments ………………………………………
Further education / university costs …………………………………………………………..
Pocket money ………………………………………………………………………………………

Any other matters about money:
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8. Any other arrangements

Are there certain rules or routines that we feel are important to be followed in both homes? (bedtime, homework, practising instruments, activities)

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Who will care for family pets?

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Who will have the family car?

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How will we divide up our personal property and possessions?

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How will the children be introduced to new partners?

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Will the children be able to take possessions from one house to the other?

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What about clothes? Will they need to be returned? Will they need to be clean?

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Any other arrangements or considerations that have not been covered elsewhere in this parenting plan:

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What will happen if an issue arises that has not been covered in the parenting plan? How will we deal with it?

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How will we resolve issues when we cannot agree on what would be in the children’s best interests?

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If you would like your own copy of the parenting plan you can download  it here:

Parenting Plan-Where there is more than one child

Parenting Plan- Where there is only one child

Weekly plan

Monthly plan

Annual plan