Advice Column, Parenting

Be on the same page

  • South African Divorce Support Association
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

I am often being approached by one parent enquiring on what their rights are regarding a Parenting Plan, because their co-parent’s lawyer is sending them a Parenting Plan that must be signed by a certain date.

This is nothing short of bullying.

A parenting plan is first and foremost a document developed, negotiated and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, and approved by the court.

A parenting plan may address issues such as the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being, and must include a time-sharing schedule.

A Parenting Plan is the subject of regulation in ss 33 to 35 of the Children’s Act and must comply with the best interest of the child.

To be blinded by emotions towards your co-parent and struggling to envision a co-parenting future can be understood and it can be managed and resolved with some co-parenting coaching, but when an attorney nudges you to ignore the fundamental need to be on the same page as your co-parent, it is bullying and not acting in the best interest of your children.

When it comes to the children, unless the one parent is clearly and undoubtedly reported as a danger to the child, parents need to remember that their children instinctively identify with both parents. Children need to love and be loved by both parents. Parents, therefore need to remain on the same page.

Ultimately, what is in the Best Interest of the children is to Value the other parent’s Relevance and Role in your children’s lives.

So, if you are a parent being presented with a Parenting Plan which you were not part of to develop, negotiate and agree on, then seek Mediation as a means to develop, negotiate and agree on the Parenting Plan, in the best interest of the children.

The Law doesn’t Raise Children. Parents Do!

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