Parenting Plans

Support to help separating couples develop a parenting plan to determine the roles, responsibilities and arrangements in regards to their children.

Avoiding future conflict

When relationships break down and there are children involved, the most beneficial thing parents can do is to make parenting plans with the children’s best interests at heart. It’s helpful to leave conflict in the past and focus on the best future for the children.

Mediation is an opportunity for parents to have a facilitated discussion  about their children, and negotiate parenting arrangements.

A Parenting Plan sets out the agreed times and days the children will spend with each parent. This enables the children to feel more secure and provides them with stability and routine, while providing a sound framework for parents.

Disagreements can occur when parents are unable to negotiate future arrangements for their children, and their expectations around roles and responsibilities relating to the children are unclear. This can cause distress to the children and potentially expose them to conflict.


What’s in a Parenting Plan?

Mediation can help parents negotiate an agreement or provide an opportunity for parents to review their existing arrangements. A parenting plan may include:

  • The amount of time the children will spend with each parent
  • How the children will keep in touch with each parent when spending time with the other parent
  • The time the children will spend and the communication they will have with significant others who are important to them, such as grandparents, siblings, step-parents
  • The activities the children will do with each parent (e.g. sports, homework, music) and attendance at special events that are important to the children
  • How parents will communicate about day-to-day issues and share parental responsibility and decision making about long term issues (e.g. schooling, medical care)
  • Arrangements for school holidays and special occasions, such as birthdays, religious or cultural events, graduation days
  • An agreed process that can be followed to review or amend the Parenting Plan and how parents will resolve any issues that may occur

As children grow, their needs change, and the circumstances of parents can change. The best interests of the children should be at the forefront of every decision when negotiating a Parenting Plan.

Fact sheet

Parenting plans – Fact sheet

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