What Are Child Arrangements Parenting Plans?
They are the plans, schedules and commitments that parents agree to enable the children to spend time with both parents and, often, their extended family.
By agreeing everything in advance, you will lessen the chance of undue stress and parental conflict.
The issues parents typically agree within a Parenting Plan include matters such as:
- How the children will maintain contact with their parents
- Where the children are going to live
- How the family is going to support themselves financially
- How the children will maintain their schooling, friends and social life
- How the parents will look after themselves so that their children can be supported through the family changes.
- How the parents communicate with each other
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens At A Mediation About Child Arrangements?
After you have both had a MIAM, you attend a joint mediation appointment (online or in person at one of our offices) or a shuttle mediation appointment. For a joint mediation appointment, you are in the same room; in a shuttle meeting, you are in different rooms. For an online mediation, you can attend the mediation from anywhere in the world. You can even ask for shuttle mediation online, where you are not on the same screen as the other party.
The mediator will agree the format of this meeting with you. Usually, parents follow one of two formats:
- To list the topics yourselves that you wish to cover
- To follow a structured parenting plan. The mediator will take you through our standard parenting plans, which can be added to as needed
The aim is that you discuss your options in mediation and reach agreement on what should be included in the parenting plan.
What Are The Costs Of Mediation And An Application To Court For A Child Arrangements Order?
Mediation through Family Law Mediation costs £140 per person per hour. The number of sessions is decided by you both, but an average would be 2 or 3 x 60 -minute meetings.
If you are represented by a solicitor at court it will be more expensive, with most family solicitor firms quoting upwards of £5,000 for your case. This will increase if more hearings are required.
What Is A Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a written plan which is signed by both parents which includes any child arrangements you both agree the Parenting Plan should to cover. The plan is flexible to cover anything that you want covered as parents, such as where your children will sleep each night of the week, to how you will organise parent evenings at school. From what you want to happen on the birthdays of the children to how you communicate about the children. From matters of health to arrangements for holidays and travelling abroad..
The Parenting Plan can help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children after separation, without having to go to court. It can help you in dealings with your children’s other parent or carer, and it asks parents to put the best interests of their children first. There are many benefits of making a Parenting Plan:
- it will help everyone involved know what is expected of them;
- it acts as a valuable reference to go back to; and
- it sets out practical decisions about the children, such as living arrangements, education and health care.
If you do go to court in the future, it is likely that judges will expect you to have started a Parenting Plan.
Can I Use Mediation To Change An Existing Court Order?
Yes, and this is usually the first step to agreeing a change to an order. The agreed change you make in mediation cannot alter the existing court order, but you can then ask the court to make a new order by consent.
Is A Parenting Plan Legally Binding?
A Parenting Plan is not legally binding. However, any parenting plan you agree through mediation, can be made legally binding through a consent order. We can provide you with information on how a Parenting Plan can be made legally binding.
Helpful Information For Children
We understand that a child’s best interests are served by maintaining a good, close and loving relationship with both parents following a divorce or separation. Children of separated parents have a right to be able to spend time with both parents. It is important for the children that parents agree and support these arrangements.
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Weekend appointments are available on request
*We can offer a limited number of pre-arranged mediation sessions outside of office hours subject to agreement and availability. All mediation sessions are held either at our offices or remotely via video conferencing software e.g. Zoom.