As listed on the Government of Canada website, parenting plans “outline how parents will raise their children after separation or divorce”. While custody and access are also settled during divorce and separation proceedings, parenting plans are slightly different. They focus on how parents will communicate with each other and share specific responsibilities regarding their children.
As former spouses move on with their lives, they may have to interact with each other while their children grow up. It’s best to have a plan in place that allows an amicable way for both parties to “parent” their children with as much structure as possible.
While custody determines who has the right to make final decisions regarding children, parents can choose to have children live between households. But it’s important to factor in where each parent lives currently, and how this may affect children as they attend school, participate in extra-curricular activities, and spend time with friends and family.
If children live between households, what is needed in each home? For example, would you allow children to have a video game console in each household? Also, a pick-up or babysitting schedule should also be taken into consideration. Did one set of grandparents look after the children until each parent got home from school? Who picked up the children after school? Who drops them off? What if one parent is stuck in traffic and needs the other one to pick-up the children?
These are all important questions that need to be ironed out in a parenting plan. A family lawyer can help you and your partner discuss and negotiate a plan that works for your specific situation.