Not a couple, but always parents
Whenever it's safe and possible, children benefit from positive relationships with both parents.
When parents separate, children can feel vulnerable and insecure – it's a huge change. Some parents never live together as a couple.
It can really help your children if you can put aside any differences you have with one another and agree on arrangements that will bring stability and continuity to their lives.
Making a Parenting Plan is a good way to do this and can also help prevent future disagreements about parenting issues.
Families in Scotland are changing
Divorce rates are falling, but more children are now born to unmarried parents than married ones. Meanwhile, of Scotland's 614,000 households with dependent children in 2011, almost one in three lived in a household headed by one adult, and around 56,000 included stepchildren.
Who makes Parenting Plans?
Parenting Plans are used by parents in many different situations, from separated parents living singly, to families with children from more than one relationship and by parents who have never lived together as a couple.
Parenting Plans are not just for 'biological' parents. Children in a stepfamily that is separating may want and need to keep up their relationships with their step-parent, their step-siblings and other friends and relatives.
Who is this booklet for?
This booklet is mainly for parents who are separating or who live apart.
It has been written with the help of experts in family relationships and family law and builds on a similar resource for parents in Scotland that was first published in 2006.
Other family members who look after children, those who work with parents and families, and children and young people themselves may also find the information in this booklet useful.
"I hate it when Mum and Dad argue about me. They think I can't hear them but I do."
To request a hard copy of this publication, email YourParentingPlan@gov.scot