The Children’s Act (“the Act”) does not contain a definition of a parenting plan. However, the Act refers to an agreement in which the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights can make arrangements on the way in which they will govern and exercise their respective responsibilities and rights. The Act discourages co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights from approaching the court as a first resort when they experience difficulties in exercising their responsibilities and rights. Parties who experience difficulties in agreeing on their respective responsibilities and rights are required to mediate before seeking court intervention. If one of the co-holders refuses to engage in discussions about a parenting plan, the court may be approached. The parties are required to seek the assistance of a Family Advocate, social worker or a psychologist to assist them in reaching agreement, or mediation through a social worker or suitably qualified person in preparing a parenting plan.
A parenting plan must be in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement. Such parenting plan may be registered with a Family Advocate or made an Order of Court. An application by co-holders for the registration of the parenting plan, or for it to be made an Order of Court, must be in the prescribed format, contain the prescribed particulars and be accompanied by a copy of the parenting plan. In certain instances, a statement by a Family Advocate, social worker or psychologist to the effect that the plan was prepared after consultation and/or mediation with such person must also be submitted.
A parenting plan registered with a Family Advocate may be amended or terminated by the Family Advocate on application by the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights who are parties to the plan. A parenting plan that was made an Order of Court may be amended or terminated only by an Order of Court on application by the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights who are parties to the plan, or by the child, acting with leave of the Court, or if it is in the child’s interest, by any other person acting with leave of the Court.
As highly experienced professionals, we can advise you on your responsibilities and rights and assist you to negotiate a suitable parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. We can also assist you in having same registered with the Family Advocate or made an Order of Court depending on the circumstances of your particular matter.
For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.