Putting together a Parenting Plan

You can still be a good – no – great parent even if your relationship with your partner is over. Children need both of their parents to grow. It is usually in their best interests if both parents, despite their differences, can put aside those differences, and communicate with each other in relation what is best for their children.

Part of doing that is to adequately communicate with each other and set down a parenting plan setting out when each parent is to spend time with the child, and the principles and guidelines of what should happen in the future.

The parenting plan can then be lodged as the court as consent orders, and can be enforced if a parent breaches the terms set out in that plan. 

A parenting plan should ideally consider the following:

  1. The age of the child
  2. Who is the primary care provider for the child?
  3. Who makes long term decisions for the child ?
  4. How often should the child spend time with each parent?
  5. If the child is of schooling age – how often the child should spend time with each parent during the school term and how often  the child should spend time with each parent during the school holidays?
  6. Is that time sufficient time for quality time? Remember – quality is not necessarily the same as quantity.
  7. Holidays – such as Easter, Christmas, New Years, and other religious holidays?
  8. Special days – such as the child’s birthday, the parent’s birthdays, father’s day, or mother’s day?
  9. Where should change-over occur? At each other’s homes? At school? At a contact centre? At McDonalds?
  10. That each parent should have access to medical, school, and extra-curricular activities
  11. How should communication between the parents be handled?
  12. What happens if a parent wants to take the child on a trip abroad?
  13. What are the plans for the future?
  14. What happens if there is a dispute?
  15. Can the plans be changed? What happens then? 

The above is but a small fraction of what should be considered in a parenting plan. Parenting is tough work after all – but having a framework of what should be done will go a long way towards making sure that your children have stability in their live and the love that they need.