Divorce can be a difficult process, especially when children are involved. One of the most important things to consider when going through a divorce is creating a parenting plan. In South Africa, a parenting plan is required by law for any couple with children who are going through a divorce. Here are 5 important reasons you should have a Parenting Plan after divorce according to South African law.
1. It sets clear guidelines for parenting responsibilities
A parenting plan outlines the responsibilities of each parent after the divorce. This includes where the children will live, who will make decisions regarding their upbringing, and how much time they will spend with each parent. Having a clear plan in place helps to avoid confusion and conflict, and ensures that both parents are aware of their responsibilities.
2. It protects the best interests of the child
The most important consideration in any divorce involving children is the best interests of the child. A parenting plan helps to ensure that the needs of the child are met, and that they are not caught in the middle of any disputes between their parents. The plan should take into account the child’s age, needs, and preferences, as well as any other relevant factors.
3. It promotes consistency and stability
Children thrive on routine and consistency, and a parenting plan helps to provide this. By setting out a clear schedule for when the child will spend time with each parent, the plan helps to promote stability and routine in the child’s life. This is particularly important in the early stages of the divorce when children may be feeling anxious or uncertain.
4. It helps to avoid conflict
Divorce can be a contentious and emotional process, and having a clear plan in place can help to reduce conflict between parents. By setting out clear guidelines for parenting responsibilities, the plan helps to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements that can lead to conflict. This is particularly important for the wellbeing of the child, as conflict between parents can have a negative impact on their emotional health.
5. Save money and time
Most matters regarding children are dealt with in the Children’s Court or the High Court. In such matters, the assistance of the Office of the Family Advocate is enlisted. These processes, unfortunately, take notoriously long to finalise.
In some cases, Social Workers and/or Psychologists in private practice are consulted. These professionals in Private Practice are very costly.
Litigation costs relating to children’s matters can easily reach upwards of R 100 000.
In conclusion, a parenting plan is an essential component of any divorce involving children. It sets clear guidelines for parenting responsibilities, protects the best interests of the child, promotes consistency and stability, helps to avoid conflict, and is legally required. If you are going through a divorce in South Africa, it is important to work with your ex-partner and a qualified family law attorney to create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved.