Ontario Parenting Plan Information
What Is a Parenting Plan?
Whether your matter is governed by the Children’s Law Reform Act or the Divorce Act in terms of parenting time and decision-making responsibility, a parenting plan can be a useful tool for preventing conflict (see our article: Types of Parenting Arrangements for a detailed description of forms of parenting time and decision-making responsibility.) The Divorce Act clearly defines a parenting plan as a document that contains the elements relating to parenting time, decision-making responsibility or contact to which the parties agree. If your matter is governed by the Children’s Law Reform Act, a parenting plan serves a similar purpose. A well-prepared parenting plan contemplates both the current and future needs of the children, along with methods to resolve common areas of conflict in post-separation families.
An Ontario family law lawyer is an excellent resource when creating a parenting plan, because your particular circumstances will be noted in a document that is reliable and respectful of the legal rights of both the children and parents involved. While a parenting plan is a legally binding document, it requires a great deal of cooperation in order to ensure compliance and avoid conflict. Post-separation families with high levels of conflict are not well suited to collaborating or negotiating parenting plans without the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Typically, a well-written parenting plan will outline the following:
- How decisions about a child’s health, education, and wellbeing will be made;
- A reliable and specific schedule detailing where the child will reside on any given day;
- What methods will be used to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs;
- How parents should communicate with each other about parenting issues – for example, via email, over the phone, or in a parenting journal that travels with the children;
- How parents will resolve their future disagreements about parenting: mediation, arbitration, or collaboration;
- What each party expects from the other in terms of discipline and daily routines; and
- The right of first refusal (if a parent is unable to care for the child during their regularly scheduled parenting time).
Be Specific & Clear in Your Parenting Time Schedule
Parenting time schedules are most beneficial when they are specific. A well-prepared schedule details the days and hours each parent spends with the children and includes pick up and drop off information. Detailed and recurrent schedules are helpful when planning future events and will also provide children with a sense of routine. In addition to daily parenting time, a parenting plan should outline parenting time for holidays and special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays.
Pursuant to section 16.6(1) of the Divorce Act, a court will include the parenting plan submitted by the parties in a parenting or contact order unless, in the opinion of the court, it is not in the best interest of the court to do so in which case the court can make any modifications to the plan that it considers appropriate.
For more information, call (905) 581-7222 to speak with a lawyer at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C.
Andrew Feldstein Founder
Andrew Feldstein graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1992. Prior to focusing exclusively on family law, Andrew’s legal practice covered many different areas, including corporate commercial. One of Andrew’s fundamental objectives is to achieve those goals mutually and collaboratively, as set out by him and his client.
Daphna Schwartz Lawyer
Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously practising family law in the Barrie area. Her practice includes all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and property issues. Daphna is also qualified to practise Collaborative Family Law.
Anna Troitschanski Lawyer
Anna Troitschanski joined the team at Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2012. Prior to that, she practised Family Law at a boutique Newmarket firm. Her experience covers all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and division of property.
Nick Slinko Lawyer
Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and Philosophy. Nick graduated in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor in Law at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Nick was Called to the Bar in June of 2012 after completing his Articling term with the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. He became an associate with the firm immediately thereafter.
Veronica Yeung Lawyer
Veronica Yeung joined the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. as a summer student in 2014 and returned as an articling student in 2015. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Veronica was welcomed to the team as an associate lawyer.
Veronica attended York University for her undergraduate studies and graduated as a member of the Dean’s Honour Roll when she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Honours Criminology.
Shana Gordon-Katz Lawyer
Shana joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as an articling student in 2017. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2018, Shana was welcomed back to the firm as an associate. While completing her articles, Shana assisted with legal matters covering all areas of family law.
Shana attended the University of Western Ontario for her undergraduate studies, where she graduated as the gold medalist of her program, Honors Specialization in Classical Studies.
Rachel Zweig Lawyer
Rachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2021, Rachel was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa, Rachel obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University with a major in English Literature.
Lauren Harvey Associate Lawyer
Lauren joined Feldstein Family Law Group as a Summer Student in 2020 and returned as an Articling Student in 2021-2022. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2022, Lauren was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, Lauren obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at Wilfrid Laurier University majoring in Criminology and minoring in Law and Society.
Quinn Held Associate Lawyer
Quinn spent two years as a Summer Student and then completed her Articling term at a boutique Family Law firm in Orangeville, where she was exposed to various complex Family Law matters. Following her Call to the Bar of Ontario in June 2022, she became an Associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Prior to obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor, Quinn obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Guelph majoring in Criminal Justice and Public Policy and minoring in International Development.