Table of Contents
WHAT IS A CHILD CARE PLAN?
A parenting plan is an agreement that you and the other parent (or parents) create when you are living apart. You are not required to establish a parenting plan, but many separated parents find it beneficial to have an agreement in place to refer to in the event of conflicts and to align their goals for their children.
This blog examines what should be included in a prenuptial agreement, the most typical custody arrangement, and whether a parental plan is legally enforceable in the United Kingdom.
WHAT MUST BE CONTAINED IN A PARENTING PLAN
1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
It is important to begin by establishing some broad guidelines for how you intend to raise your children while living apart. https://miams.co.uk/costs/
This will address issues such as how you and your spouse view each parent’s role in the children’s upbringing, the children’s strengths, your goals for future parenting arrangements, and the children’s physical and emotional wellness.
2. WHERE WILL THE CHILDREN STAY AND WHEN. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SCHEDULE MUST BE ALTERED.
Then, you may indicate where your children will sleep each night of the week. It may be that weeks one and two are repeated in weeks three and four, or you may agree upon something else. Many individuals have unique plans for school vacations.
You may alter the timetable as you see fit. It may also include instances in where the children spend time with one parent but sleep with the other, as well as phone or face time.
It is uncommon for two schedules to be identical. And keep in mind that the timetable will evolve as the children age and their activities, school, and lives change. It is beneficial to implement anything with the idea that it may require modification over time.
3. WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING SCHOOL VACATIONS AND HALF-TERM?
Numerous parents agree on a different timetable for school vacations. This is sometimes done so that one parent can make up time lost during the school year, when it may be more difficult to organise time with the children or assist with child care. You must describe what will occur during:
- Three Half-Terms
- Easter and Christmas Vacations
- Summer Vacations
Unless your children attend a private school, you will typically have 13 weeks of school holidays to plan and discuss.
It is beneficial to determine how you will communicate about the children in the future. You may like to organise a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly meeting to discuss the children’s needs over coffee or by phone.
If communication is problematic, it might be quite beneficial to have a communication book that details the children’s homework assignments, any medications they may be taking, and other pertinent information. Children may very possibly read what’s written in the book, so keep language respectful.
5. SPECIAL DAYS IN THE YEAR, CHRISTMAS AS WELL AS OTHER RELIGIOUS DAYS, FATHER’S DAY & MOTHER’S DAY, ANNIVERSARY ETC.
After determining the schedules for the school term and breaks, you will need to evaluate whether there are any modifications for important days throughout the year. Many parents emphasize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the relevant parent’s calendar. You may also choose to include your own birthdate and those of your stepbrothers and stepsisters.
During the holiday season and New Year’s, it might be difficult to reach an agreement on parenting arrangements. Focus on what the children want and what will work best for the family as a whole.
6. COSTS & EXPENSES
This would include any required child support payments and how you would manage one-time costs like school excursions and uniforms. It may also cover the costs of cell phones, subscriptions, and extracurricular activities. To determine how much child support you should pay, use the child support calculator available on this page.
Both of you presumably have parenting responsibilities. Therefore, you should both have a say in the schools your children attend. However, your plan should also include what will occur during parental input meetings, school activities, and other crucial school topics. Typically, the school will gladly provide both parents’ email addresses in their correspondence with parents.
8. HEALTH & MEDICINES
As you are both likely to have parental responsibilities, you must both have a voice in any emergency scenario and be alerted as quickly as possible if your kid is hospitalised. However, you should also discuss whether Calpol has been administered to a child before handing it over.
9. GRANDPARENTS AND WIDER FAMILY
Grandparents have their own rights when it comes to visiting their grandkids, but they may be included in your plan together with other family members to ensure that the children keep touch with their extended family.
10. NEW PARTNERS
This is often a heated topic of discussion. But because so many successful arrangements fail when a new partner is introduced, it is worthwhile to have a conversation about it now, even if it will not be a problem for a long.
Key issues to explore include how you will communicate as parents to ensure that the introduction of any new partner gives the kid the least amount of emotional discomfort (ren). It should not be given quickly to youngsters, but if done correctly, it may have a great effect on their wellness.
11. HOLIDAYS ABROAD & PASSPORTS
If you intend to take the children overseas, you will need authorization from whoever has parental responsibility. This is true regardless of the duration of your trip overseas. In rare instances, you may have a Kid Arrangements Order stating that the child resides mostly with you. Under these exact conditions, you do not require authorization to transport a kid overseas for fewer than 28 days.
It is good to agree in the plan on the preparations you will make if you decide to take the children overseas, including sharing information about flights, accommodations, etc.
You should also determine how passports will be transferred, who will typically hold them, and who will pay for their upkeep. You may also desire to consider whether the children will have communication with the other parent while they are abroad.
Read our blog to find out if you may send your children overseas during the school year.
For vacations in England and Wales, parental consent is not required; however, you should exercise caution if you plan to take the kid to Scotland, Northern Ireland, or The Channel Islands, which fall under a separate legal jurisdiction than England & Wales.
If in doubt, you should seek legal counsel, although it is always preferable to address these issues in your parenting plan before they become a problem.
12. FAITH / RESOLVE DISPUTES / OTHER SPECIFIC ARRANGEMENTS
You may choose for the children to observe particular religious practises at both homes, or you may agree on a unified approach of discipline. Ultimately, it is very difficult to exert control over how the other parent raises the children after a divorce.
You may differ on many parenting techniques, but if there is one thing you both agree on, it should be included in your plan. Some parents agree that their children cannot spend more than three hours on the computer or must be in bed by nine o’clock on school nights, etc. It can be beneficial to determine in advance how future disagreements will be resolved, for as by agreeing to employ family mediation.
It might be beneficial to agree not to speak negatively about the other parent in front of the kid; after all, you are speaking negatively about someone the child loves.
YOUR PARENTING PLAN QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
IN THE UK, IS A PARENTING PLAN LEGALLY BINDING?
No, a parenting plan is not legally obligatory, but if both parties agree, In court may present it to explain the current arrangements. To make a legally enforceable order, you must submit a child arrangements order application. You may do so by mutual consent, but both parties must still appear in court.
WHAT IF WE CANNOT REACH AN AGREEMENT ON THE PARENTING ARRANGEMENTS?
If you are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the next step is to engage in family mediation. Even if this fails, you then have the option of going to court to get a child arrangements order. In addition, the court expects you to behave properly and responsibly throughout the proceedings, including prior to your court appearance.
WHAT IS A CO-PARENTING CONVENTION?
A co-parenting agreement is identical to a parenting plan in that it outlines how the parents will raise their children while living apart. In some situations, you may agree to a 50/50 parenting plan where the children spend equal time with each parent.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT UK PARENTING PLANS?
This link will take you to the Cafcass website, where you may get information on their parenting plan. The courts of family law approve these. If you need assistance agreeing on the specifics of your parenting plan, Mediation can help you achieve an agreement and make your agreement become legally enforceable through with a child arrangement order by consent – all for a flat charge.
WHAT IF WE ARE UNABLE TO REACH A CONSENSUS?
By attending your MIAM, we will be able to invite the other parent to family mediation, where we will work with you both to establish a parenting plan. Alternately, attendance at an MIAM opens the door to filing a Form C100 with the court for a Child Arrangements Order.
WHAT IS THE COST OF A PARENTING PLAN?
Creating a parenting plan is free if both parties agree on its contents. You may get a free template and complete it independently. If you need assistance agreeing on the contents, mediation costs from £120 per person per hour, and your mediator will prepare your parenting plan for £80 per person.