A Parental Agreement or a Shared Parenting Plan is a plan drawn up by both parents and sometimes grandparents, or a guardian, and sets out the day to day parenting of the children. A Shared Parenting Agreement plan is based around what is in the best interests of the children.
A Shared Parenting Agreement plan also helps parents clarify with each other what is expected of them, for example, living arrangements, education, money, religion, healthcare and emotional well-being.
If you feel that you need some further assistance or guidance to draw up the plan, we can help to organise mediation or you can attend a Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP). These programmes are designed to provide information and guidance on co-parenting and signposting to organisations that can help you further. In England & Wales, there are lots of voluntary organisations that will assist parents to develop a shared parenting plan.
If you have older children, it is important to listen to their wishes and what they feel they need now that their parents have divorced. Listening to children provides them with reassurance that they have not been forgotten or overlooked throughout the divorce process. This will also help to reduce any feelings of anxiety or stress that they may be experiencing. If you are considering Family Mediation your children are older, then perhaps encourage them to take part in the mediation process. This can often help parents to really hear what their children are saying.
Sometimes during divorce, parents are unable to listen effectively as they are too emotionally involved in the divorce and are experiencing feelings of anger, sadness and frustration. All of this can become a barrier to effectively listening to the children.
When the Shared Parenting Agreement plan is complete then both yourself and your ex-partner will sign it and take a copy. This agreement can then be used at a later date for reference or if circumstances change.
Divorce and separation can be particularly painful for children, regardless of age. A parenting plan can help both parents and other family members focus on what is in the child’s best interests. It also demonstrates a mutual commitment by both parents that they are willing to put the needs of the children before their personal views of each other.
A parenting plan is a written record of your intentions. It is not strictly legally binding, but there is an option to formalise the Agreement into a legally binding Child Arrangements Order if you wish. This can be done by consent and provided there are no safeguarding concerns the Order can be made without having to attend Court.
If you think that you would benefit from a parenting agreement, please download our Parental Agreement form by clicking on the link below.
If you would like some guidance and support from us when discussing the completion of the form with your ex-partner please get in touch with our family team on 0330 0945 500, email email@example.com or complete our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you.