Your Parenting Plan
A guide to making practical arrangements for your children if you live apart.
Adapting your Plan in future
For your Plan to be effective both of you need to be prepared to adapt it to changing family circumstances – and to take account of your children's changing needs and wishes.
The boundaries you set for your children will naturally alter as they grow up, like how late can they stay up or stay out, and will need to be discussed with your children and their other parent.
As you both move on, there may be new partners in your lives. It can help to talk now about how you'll handle introducing them to your children and to each other.
Some change can be planned for in advance, like the transition from primary to secondary school. Others arrive unexpectedly, like changes in health status or bereavements.
You may wish to agree regular review points for your Plan and list some circumstances where you'd automatically come together to review what you've agreed in your Plan.
If something's not working…
Agreeing how you'll raise issues that come up can help avoid anyone feeling 'got at'. However you decide to do it, don't use your children to communicate with each other about problems.
Keeping things positive
When you do come together to review your Plan, it can help to remind each other of the things that are working well before tackling any difficulties. The very fact that you've agreed and kept up a Plan to this point is something to celebrate.
Do you need help?
If you're finding it difficult to reach agreement, or your Plan is becoming a source of arguments, consider getting help to negotiate the changes you need to make, for example from a family mediation service. Sources of further help and information are listed here.
Things to consider
"I can't stand Dad's new girlfriend"
"I like Dad's new girlfriend. She's good fun. When I told Mum she went ballistic! I just keep quiet about it now."
- How and how often will you check with your children that they feel your Parenting Plan is working okay for them?
- At what points in the future will you agree to review the arrangements in your Plan? Monthly? Bi-annually? Every Year?
- How will you keep each other informed of upcoming changes that could affect your arrangements?
- What events do you agree will mean you should get in touch to review your Plan ( e.g. house moves, new partners, new schools, job changes, bereavements, major illnesses)?
- If one of you feels something in your Plan isn't working, how will you raise this with your child's other parent?
- What help will you call on to negotiate changes to your arrangements if you can't reach agreement yourselves?
What we've agreed
The Parenting Plan form is attached in pdf format (688KB)
To request a hard copy of this publication, email YourParentingPlan@gov.scot
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