A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Parenting Plans

A couple with their baby.

According to a recent survey conducted in January 2021, Canada has the 29th highest divorce rate out of 87 countries. While divorce in no way is anything to be frowned upon, when there are children involved in a marriage, the consequences are more serious.

A separation or divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved in the relationship, but it can be particularly hard for children. Every child reacts to a divorce differently, depending on their personality, your family history, and even their friend’s circle. With their whole world turning upside down, it is common for some children to feel a greater impact of the divorce, while some children may deal with it better. In any way, divorce can have an emotional and psychological effect on the children.

How to Make Divorce Easier on Children?

When two consenting partners reach a stage in their marriage where they agree on not going forward, divorce or separation is the only answer. With kids involved in the situation, divorce first appears to be a win-lose situation. While one parent may be more financially well off and can spend on the child more, the other parent might be able to give them more time. In any case, finding a balance between your child’s best interests and your own emotions can be the most challenging part of a divorce.

Parents picking up their toddler.What works for most parents is finding the middle ground and settling on co-parenting to ensure that the child is not missing out on important development needs in those crucial years. But, how do you make co-parenting work? Do you settle on a child custody agreement, or do you take full control of how you want to raise your child with the other parent?

Some parents deal with child custody issues through voluntary consent by developing a parenting plan. This plan establishes a time-sharing schedule and outlines the duties and responsibilities of both parents when raising children.

Parenting Plans

A parenting plan is a written document that details how a child will be raised under the care of both parents after separation or divorce and is agreed upon by both the parents. To develop the ideal parenting plan, it is crucial for parents to find a balance between family life, your child’s best interests, and your emotions.

The parenting plan or custody agreement will tell you how you and the other parent will continue to care for and provide for your child after you separate. An effective plan is personalized to your family’s needs.

What To Include in A Parenting Plan

A carefully crafted parenting plan can make life easier for parents and children, but creating a good parenting plan can be difficult. A successful parenting plan must be detailed, thorough and thoughtful. Make a parenting plan checklist to help you get started and stay focused on everything you need to include in it. The components of a basic parenting plan include the following points.

1. Legal Custody

A parenting plan should statethe conditions of custody and access for both the parents. This determines who has the authority to make decisions for and about the child. Examples of important decisions are: education, health, religious upbringing, residency, and more. Join custody means both parents have the legal power to make decisions. Sole custody would mean that one parent has decision making authority. If decision making is a concern, it should be discussed with your lawyer.

2. Parenting Time

Every parenting plan needs to state a parenting time schedule. This would determine where your children would live. This should include their daily living schedule, as well as holidays and weekend timings. The parenting time schedule can include minute details like transportation, babysitting and childcare responsibilities, and who would be responsible to taking children to their social activities.

A smiling girl holding bunny ears.3. Travel

Travelling details are also important to be included in a parenting plan. This can include decisions like, if a parent is allowed to take the child outside of the province or state. Do they need to share information of their travel plans and/or notify the other parent if one parent is deciding to travel with a child? The parenting plan can address any concerns regarding travel in the country, or even abroad, in order to arrive to the best possible solution for co-parenting.

4. Education

Education decisions for your child can include which school they would be attending, who is going to pay for their education. Who would be helping them with homework and other activities? Your parenting plan can state who would be paying for extra tuitions, who would be attending parent teacher meetings, who will have access to the child’s report cards, and more.

Boy writing on a book.5. Religion

A parenting plan should also include all decisions and plan related to religion. Parents should decide and state in the plan if the child would be brought up in a religious environment or not, if yes then which religion, if there are any specific boundaries that need to be set, and other things. This is important to avoid any conflicts in case the parents have different religious beliefs, and not to confuse the child about religion at an early stage in life.

Finding the Middle Ground

While it is hard to put your feelings aside after a divorce, it is essential for parents to negotiate and arrive at the best possible parenting strategy for their children. Most of the times it is difficult for parents to arrive at an unbiased middle ground, which is why, it is advised to get legal advice from a good family lawyer who can help you pen down a parenting plan that works.

Get Legal Advice

If you are looking to get legal advice from family lawyers in Milton, reach out to our excellent family lawyers who can assist you by drafting a detailed, practical, and reasonable parenting plan for you and your child after separation or divorce. At Nanda and Associate Lawyers Professional Corporation, we can provide tailored and customized solutions for all your parenting needs.

Get in touch with us today and draft the perfect parenting plan.


Disclaimer: This article is only intended for educational purposes and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice.

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