Home » Crafting a Parenting Plan that works for Parents and Children

Written by: Taylor Wilson, Family Lawyer

Parenting after separation can be a challenging journey, especially when trying to ensure the best interests of the children are met. Historically, the emphasis has always been on the child’s welfare, leading to the evolution of ‘parenting plans’. These plans are pivotal in ensuring children have a stable environment post-separation. But why are they so crucial and how can you craft one that suits both parents and children? Dive in with us as we explore this essential aspect of family law.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Parenting Plan In Family Law

Parenting plans are more than just documents; they are a testament to a parent’s commitment to their child’s well-being. A well-drafted plan provides clarity, reduces potential conflicts and ensures the child’s needs are prioritised.

What factors should be considered when drafting a Parenting Plan?

Crafting a parenting plan requires a delicate balance of various factors to ensure it’s both practical and beneficial for the child. While the primary aim is to safeguard the child’s best interests, understanding the nuances that go into the plan is crucial.


Child’s Age And Developmental Needs

The age of the child plays an important role in determining parenting arrangements, visitation schedules and other specifics. A plan for a toddler will differ significantly from one for a teenager.

Relationship With Each Parent

Understanding the bond the child shares with each parent is essential. This helps in ensuring that the child continues to have meaningful interactions with both parents post-separation.

Child’s Overall Well-being

The emotional, physical and psychological well-being of the child should be at the forefront of any parenting plan. This includes considering their schooling, extracurricular activities and social interactions.

Practicality Of The Plan

While it’s essential to address all concerns, the plan should also be practical. This means considering the logistics, such as the distance between parents’ homes, work schedules and other commitments.

Unique Circumstances

Every family is different. It’s vital to factor in any special circumstances or needs that might affect the child, such as medical conditions, special educational requirements or cultural considerations.

Top 5 Elements Every Effective Parenting Plan Must Include

  1. Clear parenting arrangements: Specify who the child will live with and when.
  2. Decision-making protocols: Outline how major decisions about the child will be made.
  3. Communication guidelines: Detail how parents will communicate about the child.
  4. Conflict resolution strategies: Establish a plan for resolving disagreements.
  5. Review mechanisms: Set regular intervals to revisit and adjust the plan as needed.

Debunking common misconceptions about Parenting Plans in De Facto Relationships

Many believe parenting plans are only for married couples. However, de facto couples or those living together without a formal marriage, also benefit immensely from having a structured parenting plan. It provides the same clarity and structure, ensuring the child’s best interests are always prioritised.

The role of mediation in crafting effective Parenting Plans

Mediation plays an integral role in crafting a parenting plan. It offers:

  • Neutral Ground: A space where both parents can voice concerns without bias.
  • Expert Guidance: Mediators bring expertise in family law.
  • Conflict Resolution: Mediators help parents find common ground and craft a plan that suits all parties involved.

Addressing potential conflicts in Parenting Plans and finding amicable solutions

Conflicts are inevitable, but how you address them makes all the difference:

  • Open Communication: Always keep the lines of communication open.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consult with professionals who can provide guidance.
  • Revisit the Plan: As situations change, be ready to adjust the plan accordingly.

Need guidance through your Parenting Plan journey?

In conclusion, crafting a comprehensive parenting plan is essential for the well-being of the child and the peace of mind of the parents. At Greenhalgh Pickard, we understand the unique challenges faced by parents on the Sunshine Coast. Our team is here to guide you every step of the way. If you need assistance with your parenting plan or any other family law matter, reach out via our contact page or give us a call. We’re here to help.


The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of a professional. This information does not consider your personal circumstances and may not reflect the most current legal developments. Should you need advice, please contact our firm for targeted information relating to personal your situation.