Parenting plans or agreements are the written record of the arrangements made between separated parents for how their children will be cared for and supported. Preparing one allows you to make your own decisions on things that suit your children and your own circumstances. Your parenting plan can include anything that you need to agree on about your children. The advantage of writing everything down is that any possible dispute over what has been agreed is avoided, and you are encouraged to focus on what is best for the children and workable for both parents. The plan can be changed at any time with the agreement of both parents.
Because a parenting plan is worked out and agreed by both of you, agreeing in this way means that you have control over the process and do not need to fight things out in court. Going to court is a traumatic, expensive, time consuming experience, which should be avoided whenever possible.
Coming to a workable agreement without going to court will save you money, time and distress and, most importantly, is better for your children. When children know that their parents have agreed what's best for them, they feel cared for and safer, and manage the stresses and fears of their parents' separation much better.
This book contains all you need to guide you through coming to a parenting agreement with your child's other parent. It deals with negotiating techniques, points to consider and include in your agreement, and how to overcome problems which may arise. The advice applies to both married and unmarried parents.
Although often not necessary, the parenting agreement can be submitted to the court and made subject to a child arrangements order.