Parenting Plan

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A parenting plan is a legally constituted document provided for in the Children’s Act 2005 of South Africa. It covers various aspects related to the care and contact of minor children born out of a marriage or any other relationship. The parenting plan also makes provision for the rights of biological fathers in cases where the parents were not married. A parenting plan is an agreement between the co-holders of parental rights and responsibilities towards their children. The plan should always be in the best interest to the child or children.

√ Attorney approved √ Practical points considered

The parenting plan contains the negotiated decisions of both parents regarding the upbringing of their children in respect of:

  • The shared values and norms that will underscore both parent’s parenting interactions in which the children will be brought up on
  • Financial responsibilities (maintenance) of each parent
  • Access of parents to their children including access of third parties (i.e. grandparents, new relationships ect)
  • Residency of children including major holidays, birthdays and any other special events
  • Health provisions such as medical aid coverage, medical consent and medication
  • Decision making and shared parenting tasks including how discipline will be handled, how disagreements about aspects in the parenting plan and those that may arise will be managed
  • The names that the child/ren will be called by including nicknames
  • Religious affiliation, attendance and religious ceremonies
  • Schooling of children including language, type of schools as well as extramural activities
  • Any other specified aspect of the child/ children’s rearing that has to be considered

The parenting plan becomes a legally binding document once it has been authorised by the Children’s Court Order or Family Advocate register. Both parties are then legally required to stick to the parenting plan. If a parent does not fulfil their parental responsibilities they can be taken to the Maintenance Court or Children’s Court. It is then in the discretion of the Court to determine a consequence to the action of the parent that is in breach of the parenting plan. This could include garnishing orders, fines or even jail time. The benefit of the parenting plan is that it is a negotiated agreement that hopefully contains the heart of the parents toward their children. The parenting plan is a valuable safety net and a guarantee to the children that their parents will keep their commitments towards them.


This document was written for by a Senior Attorney (Admitted in the High Court) with more than 15 years’ experience. It complies with current South African law.

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