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Parenting plan

Care arrangements, parenting plan, visitation or contact arrangements

parenting plan?

A parenting plan states the parenthood arrangements between parents who are getting a divorce. Arrangements will be made about the care, education and upbringing of their children. A parenting plan is also called a care plan (zorgplan) or care model (zorgmodel). The following issues are usually included in a parenting plan:

the daily care of the children (where will the children live, who collects them or drops them off);
school;
sports;
medical care;
holidays;
special days (birthdays, etc.);
finances (managing savings accounts, contributions by the parents);
communication between the parents (informing and consulting each other);
collecting the children and dropping them off.
The Dutch Continued Parenthood and Well-Planned Divorce Act (Wet Bevordering voortgezet ouderschap en zorgvuldige scheiding) provides that parents who are getting a divorce, are obligated to draw up such a parenting plan. The court will not pronounce the divorce requested by one of the parties or both parties in the presence of the children, until a parenting plan has been drawn up. If, however, parents fail demonstrably to reach an agreement about the contents of the parenting plan, the court will decide and it will pronounce the divorce despite the fact that there is no parenting plan.

What should be included in a parenting plan?

In accordance with the Continued Parenthood and Well-Planned Divorce Act (Wet Bevordering voortgezet ouderschap en zorgvuldige scheiding), a parenting plan needs at least to contain arrangements about the following issues:

the division of child care and upbringing, or the arrangements concerning the right to access to the child or children and the obligation to provide access;
the way the exchange of information and consultations in important matters , including the children’s financial assets will take place;
arrangements concerning the costs of care and upbringing.
What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is not a legal term. In practice, the term co-parenting is used when the parents share the care of the children (almost) fifty-fifty. The term co-parenting should not be confused with joint custody. Custody is related to parental responsibility and taking decisions about the children.

What are care division arrangements (zorgverdeling)?

Care division arrangements are also called care arrangements or contact or visitation arrangements. These arrangements include the how and what of daily child care, or when the children will be with their mother or their father, respectively.

What are care arrangements (zorgregeling)?

Care arrangements are also called care division arrangements or contact or visitation arrangements. These arrangements include the how and what of daily child care, or when the children will be with their mother or their father, respectively.

What happens if I die?

In principle, parents have joint custody of the children born from their marriage. Joint custody continues after a divorce. When one of the parents dies, the other parent has sole custody of the children.

What is a holiday or vacation planner?

A holiday or vacation planner will include contact arrangements for school holidays and special days, so that parents and children know well in advance when the children will be with their mother or father.

What is a visiting or access arrangement for young children?

Young children benefit from structure, stability and security. The best way to realise this is an arrangement where the child has one place of residence and is in frequent –relatively brief – contact with the other parent. Babies have a very limited ability to remember the absent parent. It is important that the other parent participates in daily routines like feeding, sleeping, bathing, playing. This contact should take place frequently. Being separated from a parent for more than three days, makes it difficult for a child to bond. As a child grows older, more time can be spent with the other parent and the intervals can be longer.

I am not allowed to see my child, what can I do?

When the care arrangements have been laid down in a decree, compliance may be requested in preliminary relief proceedings (kort geding). If there is no decree – or not yet – that includes the care arrangements and you are still married, interim injunction proceedings (procedure voorlopige voorzieningen) may be started. The court will then draw up provisional care arrangements. Such provisional care arrangements will apply as long as there is no decision in the principal case, the divorce proceedings. If the parties are not married, but they do have joint custody of the child, this matter may be put forward in proceedings related to Book 1, Article 253(a), of the Netherlands Civil Code (BW). If the parents were not married in the first place and there is no joint custody, this matter should be put before the court in preliminary relief proceedings.