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 that 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 and a parenting plan needs to be individualized to meet the needs of specific children and parents.
The development of 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.
A good parenting plan will contain detailed information about parenting time schedules and time sharing, including how the children shall transition between the parents. It shall also include decision-making options as well as information about the ability to review and modify parenting plans as the child/ren grow older and change developmentally.
Each parenting plan is tailored to meet your children's specific needs. For example, if one or more of your children have any special medical or learning needs that must be taken into consideration. This will allow you to select different options that better reflect your family’s and children’s specific needs. Special considerations also need to include circumstances such as parents who never lived together, parents incarcerated, partner abuse, family violence, substance abuse and mental illness.
If it's likely that there will be conflict between you and the other parent about certain parenting issues, parenting plans need to be very detailed, since this may help to reduce conflict later.