Parental Plan

1. Definition of a Parenting Plan:

A parenting plan is defined as an agreement in writing made between the parents of a child that deals with one or more of the following aspects

  • The care of the child, including decisions as to whom the child id to live with;
  • Contract between the child and another person or persons; 
  • The appointment of a parent-substitute for the child;
  • Maintenance of a child;
  • Any other aspect of a parental responsibility for the child

In terms of Section 33(1) the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of their child may agree on a parenting plan determining the exercise of their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of the child. In terms of Section 33(2) if the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child are experiencing difficulties in exercising their responsibilities and rights, those persons, before seeking the intervention of a court, must

first seek to agree to a parenting plan determining the exercise of the respective responsibilities and rights in the respect of the child.

Section 33(3) provides that a parenting plan may determine any matter in connection with parental responsibilities and rights including-

(a) where and with whom the child is to live 
(b) the maintenance of the child 
(c) contact between tha child and 
     - any of the parties; and
     - any other person and
(d) the schooling and religious upbringing of the child

A parenting plan must comply with the best interest of the child standard. In preparing a parenting plan the parties must seek

(a) the assistance of a family advocate, social worker or psychologist; or 
(b) meditation through a social worker or other suitable qualified person

Guiding principles of Parenting Plans for parents:

CO-PARENTING: Co-parenting means that the children spend a significant amount of unbroken time with each parent. It also means that the tasks of child rearing, not just the cost, are shared by both parents. All major decisions concerning school, health and related issues are made jointly. Each parent drops the kids at school, packs lunches, drives the kids to extra-curricular activities and pick the children up. Both parents talk to teachers and doctors and get
prescriptions filled. Both may buy clothes, blankets, toothbrushes and toys.

A parental plan covers all aspects regarding the rights and responsibilities of parents with regards to children and an effective method to enable the courts to view the best interest standard when it comes to minor children. Upon acceptance of a parental plan the court may make an order that the parental plan be made final and will the parents who entered into the agreement be bided by the terms thereof.