Make a Parenting Plan

Last updated: 5 September 2018

A 'Parenting Plan' is a voluntary agreement between you and your child's other parent about arrangements for your children.

They're used by parents who are separating, or who have never lived together as a couple, instead of asking a court to decide.

You can choose what you need to agree on in your Parenting Plan. For example, where your children will live, who else can look after them or how they'll spend school holidays and birthdays.

How to make a Parenting Plan

Download guidance on how to make a Parenting Plan.

Make a Parenting Plan

To request a hard copy of the Parenting Plan guidance, email YourParentingPlan@gov.scot

This guide will help you and your child's other parent work together on your Parenting Plan and includes information on what to include and things to consider.

The guide also includes sections for you to fill out and sign, if you want to.

You and your child's other parent can work on your Parenting Plan face-to-face, by phone, email or online. You can also get help from a family mediator or solicitor.

You should ask your children what they think and feel about any changes that are taking place. Discuss any new arrangements with them, so they can understand what is happening and why.

If you have more than one child, you might want to make a separate Parenting Plan for each of them.

Making your agreements legally binding

Any agreements you make in your Parenting Plan are voluntary. This means a court can't enforce a decision if one of you doesn't stick to it.

You can ask a solicitor to create a document called a 'Minute of Agreement' if you want to make your plan legally binding.

Before you make a Parenting Plan

Make sure both you and your child's other parent are ready to work together on your Parenting Plan.

If you need help to talk to each other, family mediation and relationship counselling can help.

Is it safe?

A Parenting Plan might not be suitable in certain cases, for example if there has been domestic abuse.

Speak to a support organisation, your solicitor or your local social work department if you're concerned about your or your children's safety.

Support for children and young people

Relationships Scotland provide information for children and young people whose parents are separating or living apart.

They also offer support services such as children's counselling.

Grandparents and grandchildren

Your Parenting Plan: charter for grandchildren has information on the role of the wider family in supporting children when their parents live apart or their families are experiencing difficulties.

People who work with parents and children

For information on how to support parents to make or update a Parenting Plan, download Your Parenting Plan: guidance notes for legal professionals, educators and others who work with parents and children.