Parenting Plans – an Essential Document for Separating Parents

parenting plan.jpg


When parents separate, figuring out "co-parenting" is often the most difficult and important consideration. In most cases, both parents want what is best for their kids, but they often have different ideas about what that looks like.

Consider this example:

Jill and James have been separated for 3 years, they share parenting time with their kids “50-50” and so far, they have been able to work out all their scheduling issues amicably. Last year, Jill started dating Ken, and this summer she wants to take the kids on vacation with him to Ontario. “Whoa” says James, “I don’t agree to that, I think Ken is sleazy and I don’t trust him around my kids, there is no way I will give permission for them to go anywhere with that jerk!”

James and Jill are stuck, angry, and do not have any guidelines to help them navigate through this new territory. If only they had a parenting plan!

A parenting plan is essentially a very detailed custody agreement. It includes things like regular schedules for care, but it can also help parents turn their mind to issues that may come up in the future like the one James and Jill are facing. Parenting plans also address:

·       Relationships with extended family

·       Education, religion and medical care

·       Holidays, birthdays and special occasions

·       Passports and travel arrangements

·       Communication and problem solving between parents

·       Shared parenting values

·       Extra curricular activities

·       Special needs of children

 James and Jill will have to resolve this issue, but now they are both hurt and angry, and their kids are stuck in the middle. It would have been easier to resolve this issue if they discussed it and made a plan when they were still getting along. It is always easier to negotiate successfully when you are getting along and do not have the stress of dealing with an active conflict.

For more information about how to create a parenting plan you can visit here for a checklist of things to consider and here for a comprehensive guide to parenting plans.

If you have any questions about parenting plans you can call us at (902) 826-3070 or email us at to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers at our Tantallon law firm. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.  

 By: Dianna M. Rievaj, MBA, LLB - Founding Lawyer

The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Nothing contained on this blog is legal advice or constitutes a legal opinion. While it is our goal to provide information which is current, legislative changes and court decisions, among other matters, may result in some information no longer being current or accurate. You should consult a lawyer before relying on any information. The views expressed herein by individual contributing lawyers posting entries to the blog are solely those of the authors and should not necessarily be attributed to or considered representative of the firm of Highlander Law Group Lawyers