Mistakes People Make When Creating An Ontario Parenting Agreement
Parents have legal rights and responsibilities with respect to minor children despite the breakdown of the marriage, so child custody and visitation will come up in Ontario divorce proceedings. Fortunately, you will not necessarily be subjected to rigid, unworkable legal standards when addressing these important issues. The Canada Divorce Act encourages parents to create an agreed parenting plan on parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and contact with the child. As long as it meets the child’s best interests, the court will likely approve it. An agreement on the co-parenting arrangement enables parties to develop a plan that suits their unique circumstances. It also saves time and money compared to a contested hearing on child custody.
However, to reap these benefits, you must avoid the common mistakes with parenting plans. Though you might agree on the basics, disagreements and conflict can arise when the document does not include key details. An Mississauga child custody lawyer can guide you with creating a solid parenting plan agreement, so you avoid such critical mistakes as:
Lack of Specifics in the Schedule: Some parents mistakenly believe that it is sufficient to include language about where the child spends weekdays and every other weekend. The most effective parenting plan agreement will address many other details about the schedule, such as:
- Birthdays, holidays, and school breaks;
- What happens when there are unexpected changes to the schedule; and,
- A right of first refusal for schedule conflicts, where one parent alerts the other and offers parenting time before asking someone else to provide childcare.
Details on Travel with the Child: While an overnight trip may not be an issue, a parenting plan agreement should cover situations where one parent wants to travel with the child for longer periods OR outside Canada. Consider requirements on providing notice and getting the other parent’s permission.
Clauses Regarding Education: Even if your children are young when you divorce, parties benefit from including language about future education in the parenting plan agreement. The critical factor is cost and how to pay for college, secondary education, or other opportunities. You might even consider a provision on payment for tutors or at-home schooling if relevant.
Creating a Schedule to Review the Parenting Plan: One of the best ways to avoid conflict from turning into court action is to revisit the agreed parenting plan periodically. Children’s needs and wants change as they grow older, as do the lifestyles of parents.
No Provisions for Dispute Resolution: Disagreements can still arise, so an agreed parenting plan must cover how to manage disputes about decision-making and parenting time in the future. A clause requiring the parties to discuss or mediate before going to court serves this purpose.
Trust a Mississauga, ON Child Custody Lawyer to Advise You
There are numerous advantages for working out an agreed parenting plan in Canada, and our team at Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP will assist with important legal tasks. To learn more about how we support clients in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region, please call 905-232-0398 or go online to schedule a free consultation.