What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a written agreement between parents covering practical issues of parental responsibility. It puts the best interests of the child first and is made with a shared commitment to children and their future firmly in mind.

A parenting plan will detail practical decisions about children’s care in such areas as:

  • parenting style
  • living arrangements
  • finances
  • religion

The plan is not legally enforceable, but it can have legal implications.

What is not covered in a parenting plan?

A parenting plan does not cover how you intend to divide up your cash, homes and assets. You should discuss these matters with a mediator or lawyer who provides property settlements.

Why a parenting plan?

Divorce and separation are painful for everyone involved–particularly children. At this challenging time, children need support, love and contact with both parents. Some certainty about the future is also very important for everyone. A written parenting plan, worked out between parents, will help clarify the arrangements that need to be put in place to care for the children.

The plan can include shared parental responsibility for major long-term decision making and the time children spend with each parent. It will help everyone involved to know what is expected of them and it will be a valuable reference as time passes and circumstances change.

How to make a parenting plan?

Plans can be worked out personally between the parents, or with the assistance of a family dispute resolution practitioner. This can be done face to face or by telephone or email. Your plan will be unique to you as parents. It should be practical, simple and as concrete as possible. The more detailed or complex it is, the more you may need to review it.

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