What can I put in a parenting plan?

Pretty much anything!

So long as it is able to be done and lawful, your parenting agreement is YOURS – whatever you agree to can be put in the agreement.

Here are some examples:

  1. The big ticket items: Where the children will live, when they see the other parent, how long they stay there for, who picks them up, who drops them back, what time do they get picked up.
  2. Sharing healthcare information. If your child has special needs for things like asthma, orthodontics, bedwetting, anxiety, or anything else, generally speaking, both parents have equal responsibility for the child’s care. That means information must be shared. Your parenting agreement can describe how that info will be shared or when or whatever suits your family.
  3. HOW LONG WILL THE AGREEMENT LAST? As long as it needs to. Often, the younger the child, the shorter the agreement will last for, what I mean is, as the child’s needs change, so will the parenting. A parenting agreement may need to change when the child starts day care or school, for example. It could be in stages to re-introduce the child to a parent or step-siblings or new partner.
  4. CONDITIONS. If you think the other parent is not safe, be specific. I had parents who agreed that the child could stay at the other parent’s home once there was a fire guard and hand rails on the balcony. You might want to see proof, like a photo of the bed that the child will sleep in.
  5. Drug and alcohol testing. I can advise you about the practicality of this and facilitate agreement about paying, results, what happens if the screen is positive and so on. I have expertise on drug and alcohol issues.

My solicitor said he can better a better result than a mediator – more time with my kids.

Yes, maybe s/he can. How much will that cost you in dollars, time and stress?

Mediation will cost you a small fraction of the cost of the legal process, it can take as little as a week, and, although it is not an easy thing to do, it’s nowhere near as stressful as going through the legal process.

You can mediate even if you have a lawyer and a court date. Let your lawyer know you are looking into mediation. I will ask you if you have a lawyer.

Separated parents are obliged to attempt mediation before they can apply to have a case heard in court for parenting issues. You don’t need to attempt mediation if you want to file in court for financial / property issues.

Your lawyer will fight to get you the best deal, that’s for sure, because that’s what you pay them to do. A mediator facilitates agreements between parents, so you get what you and the other parent can agree to with the help of a mediator.