Updated: Oct 3, 2018
By Mmakgotla Batsalelwang
RAMOTSWA, 28 August (BOPA) “All children have a right to be loved, cared for and raised by both parents regardless of the relationship status of the parents,” says Ms Charlene van Riet-lowe, mediator and founder of Mediation Mechanics in an interview.
Mediation is a dynamically structured collaborative process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques.
Mediation Mechanics offers highly experienced and qualified Mediators to help parents through the process of creating a parenting plan, understanding what is working now and what needs to be implemented, to give their children the best possible childhood experience.
A parenting plan is essentially a document which outlines when the children will be with each parent and states how parenting tasks will be handled.
Ms Van Riet-Lowe explains that the plan is intended to ensure the children’s optimal development by providing continuity, stability and predictability for the future while ensuring frequent and continued contact with each parent.
The Children’s Act of Botswana provides a guideline for co-parenting agreements to biological parents who are not married and do not live together. In terms of the Act, the co-parenting agreement should be in writing and should set out the following:
- Which parent the child shall reside with
- Which parent shall determine the child’s up-bringing
- The times the child will spend with each parent
- The financial and other responsibilities of each parent towards the child and other matters as may be prescribed.
Some issues which may be incorporated in a parenting plan include vacation/holiday schedules, clothing, medical needs, extra-curricular activities, how to communicate with children using telephone, letters and email, how the child will get from one parent’s home to the other or to school or day care, how school, medical and other bills will be shared.
A parenting plan can include information about which other family members can be included in the parenting arrangements, for example grandparents, aunties and uncles.
The Act requires that the copy of the agreement should be filed by the parents with the clerk of the children’s court in the district the child resides in.
Either parent may vary or revoke the agreement by giving written notice of the intention to vary or revoke the agreement and provide the grounds or reasons for seeking the variation or revocation.
This must be done in the children’s court in the district the child is based.
Ms Van Riet-Lowe says in creating a parenting plan, it is essential to think of your children’s needs first.
Each child is unique with a different temperament, personality and these variations should be factored into the parenting plan. It is Important to note that consistency and predictability are key when following up on a parenting plan.
It should be highlighted that a written plan cannot address every possible situation which might occur and therefore parents must implement the plan in a spirit of good faith and mutual cooperation.
She emphasized that from time to time, parents should review the plan as their children’s needs change.
The Children’s Act requires that in reviewing or varying the plan, the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration.
Furthermore, the Act requires that the court shall take into account any views expressed by the child.
Mediation Mechanics offers highly experienced and qualified Mediators to help parents through the process of creating a parenting plan, understanding what is working now and what needs to be implemented, to give your child the best possible childhood experience.
To get a FREE consultation on Mediation, a Parenting Plan and its benefits for your child contact Mediation Mechanics at:
Tel: +267 311 58 67