Deciding to separate is often a very difficult decision. Many children worry about what will happen to them when their parents split up and having a parenting plan can make things clear and predictable for the whole family. A parenting plan is an agreement between parents that specifies how they will raise their children after separation/divorce. The advantage of having a parenting plan drawn up is that the parents maintain control over the process and in deciding what is best for their children. Going to court can be a stressful, expensive and long experience; it would be best for all involved if you can avoid it.
Parenting plans deal with anything regarding the care and development of your children and will help outline what each parent is responsible for and how parenting time will be shared between them.. The agreements you make should focus on what’s best for your children and family.
Some of the issues that we will address when preparing your parenting plan are the following:
· who your children will live with primarily
· what the access schedule will look like for each parent regarding the day-to-day care of the children
· what activities each of you will do with your children (eg sports, homework, music)and whether both of you can agree to attend some important events with your children
· how you will share important information with each other regarding your children
· how you will share parental responsibility and decision making about the big things (eg education, medical, religious upbringing)
· how the agreement can be modified on the important, long-term issues as your children grow, their needs change or either of the parent’s circumstances change.
· how your children will keep in touch with the other parent and other people important to your children when they are with you
· what arrangements will be made for special occasions such as birthdays, religious events, holidays, summer vacation
· an agreed process that can be followed to change the plan or resolve any problems, if your children or either of the parents are not happy with the plan at a later date
When children know that their parents have talked about what is best for them and know that a plan is written down, they are more likely to feel secure, safe and cared for; that is what makes a parenting plan successful. I will strive to ensure that the parenting plan is detailed and specific, in order to protect children from experiencing any ongoing conflict and/or arguments between their parents surrounding any of the agreements. Any parenting plan can be submitted (with permission from both parents) to their lawyers and can be included in their marital settlement agreement.