Parenting Agreement

After separation or divorce, parents can enter into a Parenting Agreement, which is a written document outlining how the children are to be raised. The parenting agreement does not need to include legal terms such as 'custody' or 'access'. These legal terms can be substituted for more friendly words such as 'parenting responsibilities' or 'parenting time'.

The parenting agreement is intended to reflect the interest of the parties involved. It should contain enough detail to be useful but realistic enough to reduce potential conflict.

The basic elements included in the agreement are as follows:

  • The children's place of residence;
  • The responsibilities, powers, and entitlement of each parent;
  • The parenting time of each parent; and
  • The dispute resolution process to resolve any or future dispute or issues.

In the parenting agreement, parents can agree on how decision are made, either jointly or individually, regarding the children's upbringing. Parents can make decision concerning the child's education, medical or dental care, including any or all emergency medical treatments.

The parenting agreement can contain information on travel arrangements with the child and the notice to be given to the other parent. It should include information on the relocation of the child from the place of residence as well as information regarding the religious or cultural upbringing of the child. The parents can describe how the decision are to be made in term of the extra-curricular activities the child may be registered to and how the expenses will be divided. The parenting agreement allows parents to create arrangement for holidays or significant days, such as Mother's Day or Father's Day.

In order to reduce conflict between the parents, the parenting agreement should set out the type of information that needs to be communicate to other parent and the method of communication between the parties.

If there is no agreement, each parent can bring an application to the court requesting that a Parenting Order be made. The court will consider the best interest of the children in making a temporary or permanent Parenting Order. Parents should abide by the terms set out in the Parenting Order. However, if there is a change in the needs or circumstances of the children, the parent has the option to request that the Parenting order be varied.

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