When children are part of a divorce, the parents have a responsibility to continue acting in the best interest of the children during and after the divorce. As such, the parties will need to agree on a parenting plan that sets out the terms of the Parenting Time and Decision-Making Responsibilities related to the children. Formely known as “Child Access”, parenting time is the amount of time that the children spend in the care of the parents, and decision-making (formely known as “Child Custody”) is the responsibility to make important decisions about the well-being of the children. Parenting plans are unique to each situation and must focus on the best interest of the children.
- Shared – The children spend at least 40% of the time with each parent.
- Majority – The children spend more than 60% of the time with one of the parents.
- Sole – One parent can make parenting decisions without the need to involve the other parent.
- Joint – Both parents make parenting decisions together.
- Decisions – Ensuring decisions are made based on the children’s well-being, including physical, emotional and mental health as well as safety, education, religion, cultural, extra-curricular activities.
- Schedules – Determining fixed or flexible schedules to accommodate visits during weekdays, weekends, school calendars, holidays, vacations etc.
- Contacts – Adding other family members or friends to schedules.
- Assessments – Obtaining expert reports from other professionals to help determine the details of a parenting plan.
- Relocation – Addressing situations where one of the parents wants to move with the children outside the city, province, or country.
- Variations – Changing existing court orders or agreements.
- Supervision – Addressing situations where the presence of a third-party is required when the children spend time with the parent(s) or during exchanges between the parents.
- Child Abductions – Addressing situations when the children may be taken without the permission of the parent(s) and/or not in accordance with the parenting plan.
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