Your Parenting Plan

A guide to making practical arrangements for your children if you live apart.

Money matters


You may already have a settlement covering money matters in place. If not, planning how you'll cover child-raising costs is essential.

Think of your children first

Both parents have financial responsibilities towards their children. Honouring whatever financial arrangements you make is essential to their welfare, now and in the future.

Disagreements needn't be inevitable – try to understand each other's position

Be aware that, after separation, one or both of you may have additional household costs to cover, as well as needing to pay for day-to-day expenses such as school uniforms, fees for trips and activities, shoes, hobbies and pocket money.

Current and future needs

Discuss how you'll pay for what the children need now but also what costs lie ahead, so that both of you can plan your finances and agree what each of you can afford.

Help with financial matters

The family support agencies listed may be able to assist you with money matters.

Child Maintenance Options, a free, impartial service operated on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, gives information and support to help parents make decisions about their child maintenance arrangements. Alternatively you could seek legal advice from a family law solicitor.

Things to consider

  • What are the likely costs of bringing up your children?
  • How will you make sure you're both aware of these costs?
  • What regular payments are being made by each of you?
  • How will things like children's shoes and clothes be paid for?
  • How will more expensive items ( e.g. school trips, bikes, phones or computers) be paid for?
  • How will you reach agreement on appropriate birthday and Christmas gifts for the children?
  • How might you make longer-term provisions for their future needs, like paying for further education?

"There's something needs paid for at school just about every week. I'm not stingy – it just wasn't on my radar before."

What we've agreed

The Parenting Plan form is attached in pdf format (688KB)


To request a hard copy of this publication, email

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