What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a document that records how you and your child’s other parent will exercise your shared parental responsibilities and rights. It is could be described as the bridge that joins our two households.
What is included in a Parenting Plan?
- Any matter in connection with parental responsibilities and rights.
- Contact between the children and the parties or any other person.
- Religious upbringing.
- Access to children.
- Medical and health care.
- Special needs.
Who drafts the Parenting Plan?
The Act provides for a few possible processes to be followed. A Parenting Plan could be drafted:
- Through a process of assistance from a Family Advocate, social worker or psychologist.
- Not all matters can be mediated. Mediation requires two parents who are capable of contained discussion and are willing to attempt constructive problem solving with the assistance of a mediator/s.
- Or by means of mediation by a social worker or a suitably qualified person.
Mediation is a process where parties attempt to resolve their dispute with the assistance of a mediator. The mediator plays a facilitative role. The mediator assists in the drafting of a Parenting Plan that is acceptable to the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights.
In most cases the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights jointly appoint a mediator. They sign a mediation contract with the mediator setting out the terms of the assistance that the mediator provides. Mediation Sessions follow and the agreements reached at these sessions are recorded in a memorandum of understanding.
Mediation is required if there is a dispute between unmarried parents about the status of a father’s parental responsibilities and rights.
Are there any conditions that the Parenting Plan must comply with?
- The Parenting Plan must comply with the best interest of the child standard as set out in the Children's Act.
- The Plan must be in writing and signed by the parties.
- It may be registered with the Family Advocate or made an Order of Court.
How can I be sure that my co-parent will follow the Parenting Plan?
Parenting Plans that are registered at court are court orders and subject to the same rules as any other court order. It further means that you could approach court if the terms of the Plan are violated. In the case of the high conflict divorce situation it is probably best to register the Parenting Plan at court.
If a Parenting Plan is not registered at Court but has been signed and implemented by both parents, the Court probably would consider this aspect if either parent approaches court for some relief.
What happens if your Parenting Plan becomes out-dated?
A Parenting Plan may be amended or terminated at any stage. It is recommended that parents consider how they wish to maintain and update their Parenting Plan on a regular basis. These processes could be included in the Parenting Plan. Divorcesmart will draft a parenting plan for you cost is R800 per hour.
Divorcesmart can assist you with both mediation and drafting of a Parenting Plan. Contact us for further assistance.
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Source: Family Zone
Disclaimer: Al the information supplied by this website are intended as guidelines only, it is advisable to contact Divorcesmart directly for appropriate advice for your unique circumstances