The law dictates that spouses and couples who have children together and who are planning on getting divorced draw up a parenting plan. Apart from that parents are at liberty to make their own arrangements for the children according to their personal situation and wishes. However, the parenting plan must contain arrangements on at least the following three subjects:
- division of care after the divorce or separation
- the costs of the children and how those costs will be divided
- how the parents are going to exchange information and consult each other
Division of care after a divorce or separation
How will the care be divided after the divorce? Or in other words: who will the children live with and when? This entails the division of care during school weeks but also during holidays and public holidays. The agreement needs to be very specific: it is important for parents and children to know where they stand.
The costs of the children and how those costs will be divided
As parents you will contribute to the costs of your children in accordance with your financial capacity. Therefore the first step is to determine the financial capacity of both parents and the needs of your child. Parents are at liberty to draw up the best possible arrangement which, unfortunately, doesn’t always make it easier. The Divorce Company lawyer-mediator will certainly help you with this during the mediation process. The mediator will explain which legal standards are applied by the court and how they would work in your situation. It is then up to you, as parents, to decide on the division of costs according to the legal standards or to draw up your own arrangements.
Exchanging information and consultation between the parents
The parenting plan should also contain information about how parents will inform and consult each other about the children after the divorce. It is important to further detail this communication between the parents. Most parents communicate via email but some parents prefer to call each other. Another option is to communicate with the help of an exercise book which comes and goes with the child.
Why have a parenting plan?
The mandatory parenting plan was implemented to reduce the number of problems arising in connection with children after a divorce. Since 1 March 2009 parents have been obliged to draw up a parenting plan. When parents file a divorce petition it has to include a parenting plan. Apart from the three obligatory subjects parents are at liberty to include other arrangements in this plan.