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Read more articles in: Author, Blog, Family Law, Stuart Daniel

Crafting a child-centred parenting plan: the best practice

Divorce or separation is an emotional and challenging process for all parties involved, but it’s especially hard for children.

One way to reduce the impact of this major change is to craft a child-centred parenting plan.

A child-centred parenting plan is an agreement that prioritises the emotional and physical needs of the child to create a stable and supporting environment whilst ensuring that the welfare of the child comes first in all decisions made, as stated in the Children Act 1989.

Communication is key

To be effective, both parents need to be open and transparent with each other.

The foundation of any child-centred plan is effective communication between the parents.

If you can’t communicate with your ex-spouse, the child will likely suffer. You can use family counselling if necessary to help foster a dialogue.

Be specific

A vague parenting plan invites conflict.

When crafting your plan, be as specific as possible. Specify the days and times when each parent will be responsible for childcare, details regarding holidays, and how to handle unexpected changes in schedules.

Clarity leaves less room for misunderstandings or disputes.

Establish routines

Children thrive on routine. Whether it’s regular mealtimes, bedtimes, or weekend activities, a routine makes children feel secure and helps them know what to expect.

Your parenting plan should establish consistent routines that both parents commit to maintaining.

Factor in individual needs

Different children have different needs.

If you have multiple children, consider their individual requirements, activities, and schooling commitments.

Adapt the parenting plan to accommodate each child’s unique needs and circumstances.

Prioritise emotional well-being

Often, children feel like they must choose between their parents. A child-centred plan should eliminate or minimise this kind of emotional stress.

Encourage open discussion with your child and reassure them that both parents love them and will continue to be part of their lives.

Involve the child (when appropriate)

Older children should have some input into the parenting plan. Listen to their needs, concerns, and preferences.

While the final decision should be made by the adults, involving the child helps them feel empowered and heard.

Review and revise

Circumstances change, and your parenting plan should be flexible enough to adapt.

Regularly review the arrangement to see if it still serves your child’s needs and make revisions as necessary.

Legal consultation

It’s crucial to consult a solicitor experienced in family law to review your parenting plan. They can help ensure that the plan is legally sound, equitable, and in the best interests of the child.

If you would like more advice about navigating the legal issues surrounding child arrangements, please contact us today.

Stuart Daniel

Head of Family Department

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and now specialise in divorce, financial settlements, childcare arrangements and Pre Nuptial Agreements. I have many years’ experience as a private family lawyer having worked with two other local firms before returning to Mander Hadley, where I first undertook work experience during my university studies.