Developing a parenting plan

Parents who are going through a divorce or separation in British Columbia may need to create a written document called a parenting plan. Although parents can develop a parenting plan by themselves, lawyers, mediators or social workers may be needed to facilitate drafting of the document in certain circumstances.

A parenting plan is a written agreement between two parents about how children will be cared for after a divorce or separation. The parenting plan should include agreements about where a child will live, how parents will share information about the child and how important decisions about the child’s life will be made. There should be enough information in a parenting plan to make it a useful document, but the parenting plan should also be flexible.

One of the most important issues to address in a parenting plan is the child’s living arrangements. If parents are sharing physical custody, agreements about transportation should also be included in the parenting plan. Parents will also need to make agreements about vacations, holidays and other special days. Decisions about education, health care and religion can also be included in the parenting plan.

An individual who is having trouble creating a parenting plan with their former spouse might want to have representation from a lawyer. During the process of developing a parenting plan, a lawyer might be able to help ensure that the plan is in the best interests of the child. If parents tend to have conflict when there are important decisions to be made, a lawyer might help to make sure that there are agreements in the parenting plan about parenting disputes.

Source: Department of Justice, “What to Consider When Making a Parenting Plan“, Dec. 24, 2014

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