The Importance Of Parenting Plans

Parenting plans are written agreements between separated or divorced parents, which assist with their parental responsibilities and rights in respect of their child.A parenting plan assists in resolving future conflicts, and obviously the less conflict for the family during this difficult time, the better.Parents should consider all the factors of the child’s life when drafting the parenting plan and it should have enough detail to be helpful, yet enough flexibility to be realistic.The child can also add input, the age and maturity of the child will determine the level of input given, but most importantly the parenting plan must always be in the best interest of the child.The parenting plan is legally binding when it is made an order of the High Court, a divorce court in a divorce matter, or the children’s court, or is registered with the Family Advocate.

Some factors to consider when drafting a parenting plan are listed below;

  • Living arrangements of the child;
  • Holidays and special days;
  • Medical care of the child;
  • Education and extra-curricular activities;
  • Religion and culture;
  • Grandparents and the extended family;
  • Travelling in and out of the country;
  • Basic safety requirements of the child;
  • Discipline and lifestyle expectations of the child;
  • The child’s use of electronic devices;
  • Diet and nutrition;
  • Family pets;
  • Involvement of a parent’s new partners;
  • Communication between parents;
  • Making changes to the parenting plan;
  • Dispute resolution between the parents.


It is advisable that a neutral third party such as a family lawyer, psychologist or social worker assist in drafting a parenting plan as it must be set out in a prescribed form and must comply with certain requirements of the Children’s Act.