If you and your partner separate and the two of you have children, the law requires that you draw up a plan on how you are going to parent now that you are no longer together.
The Parenting Plan is a tool or strategy to assist separating, divorcing and post divorced parents to amicably mediate or reach mutual agreements about any and all aspects of the changes that will affect their children’s lives.
- It will help everyone involved to know exactly what their responsibilities and roles are in the ongoing Care, Contact & Upbringing of their Child/ren.
- A Parenting Plan can be Mediated by trained Social Workers, Religious Leaders, Legal Personnel & any other person who has been trained in Mediation. (Ref Children’s Act – Ref to Sec 34)
- A Parenting Plan does Not cover the Following:
- Asset negotiation
- Financial Matters (excl Maintenance) and Property negotiation.
These matters may be Referred to your Lawyers / Attorney’s
Each parenting plan is unique for each unique family situation. You put in as much detail as you want and include any issues that you think have been missed out. Once you are both happy with it, you can sign it and make sure that everyone who needs it has a copy.
Children’s Basic Needs and Rights are central to the parenting plan
(Refer Section 7 – New Children’s Act – No 38 of 2005)
- All Decisions must be made with the Best Interests of the Child/ren in mind.
- Parents primarily have Responsibilities toward their Child/ren rather than Rights to them.
- Children have the Right to fair & reasonable Care & Contact with both Parents throughout their upbringing
- Children have the right to their Basic Daily & Developmental Needs being met such as adequate food, shelter, health, education, love & care & all aspects related to psychological, emotional & physical well-being.
Legally Binding Implications
(Ref to Sec 34 / Act 38 of 2005)
Although a Parenting plan is not initially legally binding it can be made legally binding through any of the following options
- It can be made as an Order of the Court
- It can be filed at the Family Advocate’s office
- It can be submitted to each party’s attorney