Your Parenting Plan

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

How to use this guide

Whether you're a parent, grandparent, or support a parent or separating family, this booklet can help you make sure good arrangements are made for the children's needs and wellbeing.

Making a Parenting Plan is a flexible process. You can pick and choose which areas you need to agree on.


If you're about to separate or are already living apart, this booklet will help you make a Parenting Plan for your children.

Are you in a position to do this now? Do you need extra support? See " First Steps".


Grandparents have important roles to play in their grandchildren's lives. The love, support, and continuity you can provide can be especially important during family break-ups.

You may wish to give this booklet to the children's parents and encourage them to think about making a Parenting Plan together.

If you are a full-time carer for your grandchildren, it might be helpful to work with the children's parent or parents to draw up a Parenting Plan. Before you start, consider the information in " First Steps".

You might also want to read the Charter for Grandchildren included with this guide.

Children and young people

Family break-ups are tough to cope with – especially for children. Don't blame yourself for what's happening though. It's not your fault and is something that's happened between your parents.

It may help your parents organise things better for you if they can draw up a Parenting Plan. You may wish to give them this booklet to help them do this.

However, there may be good reasons why they can't make a Parenting Plan right now – try to be understanding if this is the case.

Do you have an adult you can talk to about what's going on? A close family friend, grandparent or other relative, or a teacher? Getting enough support for yourself is important.

Check out the sources of advice and information listed under "Children and Young People" to find out where you can get help if you need it.

Family support workers and other professionals

If you're working with a separating family or one where parents live apart – and if it's safe and appropriate – you could offer to support them to draw up a Parenting Plan or help them find more specialised assistance, for example from a family mediator.

To find sources of support for families, see here.

A separate document entitled " Your Parenting Plan – Guidance notes for legal professionals, educators and others who work with parents and children", is also available to help you decide how best to use this resource.

Copies of Your Parenting Plan and supporting materials can be downloaded or paper copies requested at


To request a hard copy of this publication, email

Related publications:

Back to top