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parenting plan

parenting plan, visitation or contact arrangements

What is a parenting plan?

Separating parents lay down the arrangements about parenthood concerning their minor children in a parenting plan. 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 Dutch Continued Parenthood and Well-Planned Divorce Act (Wet Bevordering voortgezet ouderschap en zorgvuldige scheiding) provides that parents who are getting a divorce, are obliged to draw up such a parenting plan. If any children were born during the marriage, the court will compel the parents first to draw up a parenting plan. Only then will the other issues be discussed. If, however, the 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 visitation or contact arrangements;
the division of the costs of care and upbringing.
the division of (public) holidays

In addition, a parenting plan includes the following:
the daily care of the children;
collecting the children and dropping them off;
medical care;
finances (managing savings accounts, contributions by the parents);
communication between the parents (informing and consulting each other);
contacts with the family of each parent.

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 authority. Joint authority refers to parental responsibility and the parents taking important decisions about the children.

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 when one of the parents dies?

In principle, parents have joint authority over the children born from their marriage. If the parents are not married or not registered partners, joint authority needs to be applied for at the court. Joint authority continues after a divorce. When one of the parents dies, the other parent has sole authority over the children.

What is a holiday or vacation schedule?

A holiday or vacation schedule will state specifically how the school holidays and public holidays or special days are divided, so that parents and children know well in advance when the children will be with their mother or father.

What are good care arrangements for young children?

Young children benefit from structure, stability and security. The current opinion among educationists about the best way to realise this and create a safe bond for a very young child, is an arrangement where the child has one, clear place of residence and is in frequent –relatively brief – contact with the other parent. Of course, this is closely connected to each party’s personal circumstances and may differ.
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 from the court. If there is no decree – or not yet – that includes the care arrangements, the court may lay down provisional care arrangements at short notice. Such provisional care arrangements will apply as long as there is no definite decision.
This is a possibility if you have joint authority over your child or children, but also if you do not have authority, but did recognise your child or children, you may request the court to lay down care arrangements.

Any questions about the above or about another topic? Please call us at 070-3154000, or send a mail to: secretariaat@chambersadvocaten.nl.