If you are going to family court and seeking a divorce, you may consider developing a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a document that sets out how children will be cared for post-separation. It may include elements such as a parenting schedule and information about who will make important decisions about the child.
The Parenting Plan Tool
In order to help you develop your own parenting plan, Justice Canada has created a free online Parenting Plan Tool, which can be accessed here.
Although it is not required to fill out the tool, it may be useful for some parents to determine potential parenting arrangements. It may also help parents turn their minds to which topics they should be considering for parenting apart. The Department of Justice Canada website issues a reminder that all families are unique and each option in the tool may not be appropriate in every situation.
The parenting plan tool was developed for making parenting arrangements under the Divorce Act. The tool may still have useful information for parents making parenting arrangements under provincial or territorial law.
The Department of Justice Canada website includes additional helpful information about parenting arrangements, parenting plans and how to use the tool. We suggest looking through this information prior to filling out the Parenting Plan Tool.
The Parenting Plan Tool covers a variety of topics, including:
- general statements or rules about the parenting relationship
- decisions about the children
- children’s time with each parent
- exchanging information and communicating about the children
- appointments and other practical arrangements
- dispute resolution
- reviewing, monitoring, and changing the parenting plan
NSRLP-E Video Series
We have developed a video series as a useful companion if you want to fill out the Parenting Plan Tool. You may want to watch the videos before filling out the tool. Each video covers a single section of the tool and provides information about what you might want to consider prior to filling out that particular section.
You will also find a video with some general information about the new terminology being used in family law, such as “parenting time” and “decision-making responsibility.” You can work through the videos at your own pace or simply select whichever videos interest you most.
The videos do not contain legal advice but include general information. It is always recommended to consult with a lawyer whenever possible. For more information on where to find free or low-cost legal information and advice in Atlantic Canada, see our directories under the “SRL Resources” tab of our website.
The NSRLP National Directory also provides a list of lawyers and other professionals in your area who provide affordable assistance for self-represented litigants, primarily in the form of unbundled legal or limited scope services.
We hope you find these videos helpful as you fill out the Parenting Plan Tool.