The AFCC – Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Ontario has put together a draft parenting plan and guidelines that be used at no cost.

A parenting plan is a written document that sets out how the parents plan to raise their children after separation, including the sharing of time and decisions relating to the children.

The Divorce Act requires parenting plans to be in the best interests of the children. There are many factors that may be considered when determining the best arrangement for your family.

Developing a parenting plan can be a complex task with several questions and areas of uncertainty that can arise depending on the age, needs, and circumstances of the parents and the child/children. This “Parenting Plan Guide and Template” found here offers detailed information and guidance for parents creating a parenting plan.

AFCC-Ontario’s Parenting Plan Guide addresses the following topics:

1. General introductory information about parenting plans.
2. Detailed information about developing age appropriate parenting plans and schedules.
3. Decision-making options in a parenting plan.
4. Considerations involving communication, planning, and implementation of the parenting plan.
5. Information about the ability to review and modify parenting plans.
6. Special considerations in making parenting plans, such as parents who never lived together, parents in the armed forces, parents incarcerated, partner abuse, family violence, substance abuse and mental illness.
7. Child Support.
8. Reference to Federal Government Resources on Post-Separation Parenting Plans.

This resource can help educate separating parents and may narrow the areas for discussion. Parents may then take that information and work with a mediator on areas that need discussion.

Mediation is one option to develop a parenting plan. Mediation allows you to work together to hopefully reach an agreement on what is best for your children, taking into consideration the unique features of your family and your children. Mediation is a flexible process. For instance, parents can agree to involve a mental health professional who specializes in work with children to assist in creating a parenting plan.
For more information about Paul Family Law/Oakville Mediation’s mediation services, click here. For more information about our mediators, click here. We are here to help.