Before you complete the plan, remember that each child’s needs (even that of siblings) are different and that they should be consulted (age appropriate of course) and their views and feelings taken into account. As such, it is essential to prepare separate plans for each child.
A Parenting Plan should not be set in stone. Situations change, children grow up, parents find new partners and may shave responsibility for other children. Think about what the future may hold and try to build change into the plan. At the very least, make the provision to change and alter the plan when necessary.
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The questions are:
About the child
- Child’s name
- Also known as
- Date of birth
- Names of significant persons (grandparents, absent parents etc)
- The child/ren will mostly live
- At, With
- What will be the day-to-day contact arrangements? (how will they spend time with each of you?)
- How will they travel between the different addresses?
- (who will be responsible for the travel arrangements and costs?)
- What will be the arrangements for postponed visits?
- (who will tell the children and how will another visit be arranged)
- How will the children contact their absent parent
- (will they have their own mobile/e-mail address? Who will pay the bills?)
- What are the agreed house rules?
- (rules and discipline for the children should be agreed especially bed times, smoking, lateness etc)
- Who can look after the children if the parent is not there?
Staying contact (overnight stays)
- Who can the child/ren contact?
- (are there friends or family members they should not contact?)
- What will be the arrangements for special days?
- (birthdays, religious festivals, family parties and events etc?)
Religious and cultural upbringing
- What are the arrangements for the continuing of a particular faith or cultural tradition?
- Are other significant people involved? Do they need to be with the child/ren at particular ceremonies or events?
- will your child/ren need to speak another language? How will they continue to develop this?
- Who will tell the school about the changes?
- How will the absent parent keep in touch with school? Receive school reports? Attend school events?
- How will you discuss changes of school?
- How will you make choices of schools for your children?
- How will you discuss important choices?
- (selection of courses, health education, careers, school trips, out of hours activities and payments)
- How will you maintain your child/ren’s out of school activities or hobbies when they are away from their main home?
- How will you divide the time?
- Can you both take them on holiday?
- (out of the country, on activity holidays, with other people etc?)
- Who will be responsible for routine arrangements and appointments?
- What will be the arrangements to share information?
- (allergies, regular medication, informing one another about hospital visits or emergencies?)
- What will be the agreed procedure if one of the parents are ill or cannot look after your child/ren?
- family pets
- learning to drive
- Saturday jobs/paper rounds
- future changes
- new adult relationships (how will you tell the child/ren?)
- moving home (especially if you are moving out of the area).
- how will you negotiate changes to the parenting plan?