What is a parenting plan agreement?

Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP

A parenting plan agreement, is a written agreement that is negotiated by parents after they separate, setting out the arrangements for their children and setting out the arrangements in relation to practical issues regarding their children with the aim of avoiding having to apply to the court for a child arrangements order.

Why have a parenting plan agreement?

The parenting plan agreement sets out how children will be cared for after parents separate, without the need to attend court for a court order. A parenting plan agreement can also set out the decisions that have been made in relation to practical arrangements such as the children’s education, how much pocket money they receive, how extracurricular activities and clubs are organised and paid for. These are just examples and not an exhaustive list. The parenting plan agreement is also a useful reference point if issues arise. Provision can also be made within the agreement to set out the issues that require further assistance from a dispute resolution service (such as Family Mediation or Collaborative Law) or the court.

How do you enter into a parenting plan agreement?

The terms of the agreement can be reached either through direct discussions between the parents or through family mediation or through collaborative law negotiation or through solicitor led negotiation on behalf of the parents.

The parenting plan agreement can be drafted by a Family Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer, Solicitor or by parents.

If you require a parenting plan agreement template, please contact me.

What should be included in a parenting plan agreement?

The following are examples of what may be included in a parenting plan agreement. However, each family is unique, and some aspects may not be required in all cases and what is appropriate for each family will vary depending on the ages of the children, the parents and children’s commitments, the distance between parents’ homes, the children’s wishes, feelings and needs and the type of relationship the parents have. Each parenting plan agreement will be different depending on these factors.

  • How will you agree to communicate about arrangements and any changes to the arrangements which can be pre-determined and changes which arise because of an emergency?
  • What are the childcare arrangements?
    • How will the children spend their time between each parent’s home?
  • How will the children be transported between each parent’s home?
    • Will the children be taken to an alternative predetermined safe location for each visit?
    • How will the children spend their time with each parent in the holidays and on special dates such as birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?
    • How will the children spend time with and communicate with extended family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins?
    • How will the children communicate with the parent they are not spending time with?
  • What are the arrangements for the children’s education? And clubs and activities?
  • What are the arrangements for other issues? For example,
    • Health care
    • Religion
    • Discipline
  • How will children’s costs of living be covered? Will Child support be paid, if so, how much, when, by whom and to whom?
    • How will medical expenses be paid?
    • How will school fees be paid, if applicable?
    • How will clubs and activities be paid?

If you require advice about agreeing child arrangements or preparing a parenting plan agreement please do not hesitate to contact me to book a free initial telephone consultation.

Can the parenting plan agreement be reviewed?

Yes, it is possible to review parenting plan agreements, this can be drafted in the agreement, if this is what each parent agrees. Parenting plan agreements can be changed as the needs and circumstances of the children and parents change.

Further information

Cafcass (stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) represents children in family court cases in England. They independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. They put their needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting, they can also provide further support and information.

For further information contact Karen Newman or one of the team by contacting BH&O either by telephone or by email

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