What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a voluntary, written agreement between parents (and can include grandparents and other family members). The plan covers practical issues in relation to the children such as living arrangements, education, healthcare and finances and it aims to assist parents in resolving arrangements amicably and informally.
Cafcass parenting plan
Cafcass (The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) have produced a parenting plan template which is accessible online and accompanied by a guidance document. Of course, there are other templates which can be accessed online with a quick Google search or parents are free to produce their own parenting plan. Click here to access the parenting plan and supplementary documents on the Cafcass website.
Is there support available to assist parents in producing a parenting plan?
Parents can use a dispute resolution service, such as mediation, to assist in the process of agreeing a parenting plan. A mediator is an independent practitioner who will facilitate the conversation between the parties with a view to helping them to reach a satisfactory outcome.
See our page on Family mediation for more information.
Is a parenting plan legally binding?
A parenting plan is not automatically legally binding. However, there is the option of formalising the agreement through a Consent Order.
Please see our page on Consent Orders for more information.
Parenting plan – Attending court
A court application should be the last resort. If a parent does apply to court for an order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989, e.g. a Child Arrangements Order, the application form (C100) does ask that the applicant attach previous parenting plans that have been agreed on and provide brief details on why they have broken down.