Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) has developed a new Parenting Plan aimed at encouraging parents, and other family members, to parent cooperatively for the benefit of any child.
It is envisaged that the Plan will assist parents in making practical decisions and assist in resolving disputes outside of Court whilst child safety and security remains a paramount consideration.
The Plan covers practical issues of parenting, for example; living arrangements, finances, holidays and sporting activities and health and emotional care. It will help to put in place the particular arrangements identified. The Plan also focusses upon the need for improved communication following separation.
Parents and family members have the option of completing the Plan alone, or can work together through the plan, further encouraging and promoting effective communication. It is envisaged that the Plan will be made available as an interactive tool, enabling the parties to access the Plan online. Its adaptability and accessibility means it can develop with the child and adapt to any change in circumstances.
Anthony Douglas, Cafcass Chief Executive, said:
“Resolving a dispute about the arrangements for your child after separation, when emotions are running high, can be hard to do, which is why Cafcass, working with our partners, has developed the Parenting Plan.” “It builds on the previous version, which has been incredibly popular with mediators and solicitors, and is intended to help any parent, whatever their situation, develop better communications skills, to improve understanding of their child’s needs and equip parents to build a sustainable and adaptable plan.”
The Parenting Plan is as an extremely useful tool which, Cafcass says, is widely recognised within the courts as a valuable method of resolution. The introduction of the Plan is expected shortly as it aligns with the new legislation outlined in the forthcoming Children and Families Bill; which recently received Royal Assent and will be enacted next month.
Here at Higgins Miller, we actively support such mechanisms that aim to reduce conflict and encourage cooperation and welcome the introduction of the new Parenting Plan.
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