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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:25 AM
Ames Ames is offline
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Default Please Help with Parenting Agreement

I have been asking my ex if we could draft a parenting agreement between us, so that we can both be on the same page about visitation, custody, child support, holidays, and things like that. I am hoping that this will avoid confusion and disappointment.

Today he found a template online and filled it out and sent to to me asking me to look it over. Since I have had no legal advice thus far (I will make a trip to the FLIC office hopefully next week, when I don't have to watch my nephew), I was hoping that I could get some input about what he sent me. A couple of things are jumping out at me, but I am not confident that they are right or wrong, etc.

Here is what he sent me:


Parenting Plan Agreement

THIS PARENTING PLAN AGREEMENT
Made the day of 2011
BETWEEN:
EX NAME of the City of CITY, in the Province of Ontario
AND:
MY NAME of the City of CITY, in the Province of Ontario
FOR:
SON 1 and SON 2

Once signed and witnessed, this agreement may be amended or varied by a court order, or by written agreement between EX NAME and MY NAME. When executed this agreement is a domestic contract, without need to file in a court unless requested as evidence.

I. Primary Residence

EX NAME and MY NAME shall have joint custody to SON 1 and SON 2. MY NAME shall have primary residency of the children.
Unless both live in the same city where primary residency will be split between either parties; or the children are mature enough to make a decision on which parent to live with and understand the implications.

II. Financial Issues

(A) Child Support
EX NAME shall pay to MY NAME the table sum of child support in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines beginning on the 1st day of October, 2011. And continue on each month until the children are no longer children as defined by under the Family Law. We understand custody arrangements and incomes change, and we agree when circumstances change to adjust the monthly sum according to the Child Support Guidelines.
(B) Income Tax
EX NAME and MY NAME shall provide each other with a complete copy of his or her income tax return and any notices of assessment and reassessment issued to him or her by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency on a annual basis on or before June 30th of each year.
In the event that someone has not filed an income tax return for the previous year, he or she shall provide the other party with copies of his or her T4, T4A and all other relevant tax slips and statements disclosing any and all sources of income, including self-employment income.
(C) Other Financial Issues
1. The primary residence shall claim the children on tax deductions.
2. The primary residence shall cover all extra costs of but not limited to; clothing, medical, education and extra curricular activities.

III. Medical

Any health concerns shall be discussed between both parties and what kind of care is needed.

IV. Basic Visitation Schedule

The non primary residence shall have but not limited to, every other weekend

V. Holidays

The holidays will alternate yearly except for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

VI. Birthdays

The non primary residence shall have the weekend following the birthdays to allow for celebration of the children.

VII. Vacations

The primary and non primary residence shall equally share summer; Christmas and March break unless other terms are agreed too.

VIII. Transportation

Weekend Visits
The exchange will take place at the primary residence; it is the responsibility of the non primary residence for pick up and returns.

Holidays, Special Occasions
The exchange will take place at the primary residence; it is the responsibility of the non primary residence for pick ups. The responsibility of returns shall be the primary residence.

VIV. Occasional Changes to the Schedule

Any changes to the schedule must be made:
• Verbally
• Can be made through E-mail

XV. Parent- Child Communication

While visiting or residing with one parent the children are free to call the other parent at anytime.
The Children may also contact the other parent through E-mail, Skype and Texting.

XVI. Decision Making

Day to Day Decision Making

The parent in whose care the children are at any given time will be responsible for the day to day decisions that need to be made during their time together.

This includes decisions regarding emergency health care and safety concerns.

XVII. Major Decisions

Both parents will collaborate on major decisions, such as education, non-emergency healthcare, and religious upbringing.

XVIII. Parent’s Communication about our children

We will communicate by e-mail. We will correspond in a respectful manner that addresses child-related issues only. The parent who is invited to respond will do so in a timely manner (even if the parent is simply responding saying she or he is unable to respond within the suggested timeline, and will get back to the other parent by a specific date.)

Information sent home with the children from school will be shared between the parents in a timely manner.

XIX. Travel with the Children

The parent planning to travel with the children will let the other parent know of the plans as soon as possible and request any documentation required, including a letter of permission. Requests to travel with the children will not be unreasonably withheld.

XX. Children’s Documents

The children's passports, birth certificates, and social insurance cards will be kept at primary residence. Both parents will have access to the documents as required.
The documents will be promptly returned following each use.

XXI. Relocation

We both agree that it is very important to our children that they have easy and uninterrupted access to both parents until their completion of elementary school.

However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances which involve a relocation of either parent, we agree that we will discuss together, or attend mediation if either believes that would be helpful, to make any necessary changes to the Parenting Plan which are in the best interests of the children. The parent who is planning to relocate will discuss the relocation at least 90 days in advance with the other parent.

XXII. Additional Considerations

(A) Child Care- In the event child care is needed for the children the non primary residence will be given consideration before calling a babysitter.

(B) Permanent Changes to the Parenting Plan Agreement- In order for permanent changes to the agreement to be applied both parties has to agree and resign the agreement.

(C) Contact with Extended Family- The children’s contact with extended family members takes place during scheduled times with the primary/ non primary residence. That does not interfere with scheduled arrangements already in place.

(D) Legal Changes in regards to the children- any legal matters regarding the children shall be discussed between both residences.

XXIII. Dispute Resolution Process

We agree that if a dispute occurs about any of the terms of this Parenting Plan, or any other issue regarding the children, we will first make a reasonable attempt to resolve the dispute between ourselves, including seeking any professional consultation which may be appropriate.

In the event that we are unable to reach a consensus, after having made a reasonable attempt to resolve the issue(s), we will attend mediation within fifteen (15) days from the time that the parent initiating the mediation has informed the other parent in writing of this intent. (We realize that the timeline of 15 days may be minimally extended to accommodate the mediator's schedule.) The parents will share equally the cost of mediation.

However, should a decision be required on an urgent basis, then either parent may proceed with an application to a Court of competent jurisdiction to determine the matter in issue.

Acceptance
We each acknowledge that we have been advised to seek independent legal advice prior to signing this Parenting Plan; that we have read the Parenting Plan and understand our respective rights and responsibilities outlined herein; and that we are signing this Parenting Plan voluntarily.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties sign on (date) _______, __________, 2011
at (city) _________________, in the Province of ____________.

SIGNED BY EX NAME, in the
presence of ]
]
]
______________________________ ] ________________________
(Signature of Witness) ] Signature of
______________________________ ] EX NAME
(Print Name) ]
]
______________________________ ]
(Address) ]
]
______________________________ ]
(Occupation) ]



SIGNED BY MY NAME, in the
presence of:
]
___________________________________ ]
(Signature of Witness) ]
] __________________________
___________________________________ ] Signature of
(Print Name ] MY NAME) ]
___________________________________ ]
(Address) ]
]
___________________________________ ]
(Occupation) ]
  #2  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:30 AM
Ames Ames is offline
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I think that he took this from a basic template for the most part, but I am not sure where exactly he made changes and I am just hoping to clarify a couple of things.

One is that it says primary residence is responsible for all extra costs, but wouldn't things like day care, extra curricular activities (unless he didn't agree to enrol them), education, medical expenses not covered by benefits - that sort of thing be paid for evenly by both parents? Or am I confused about that?

Also, where it says that the children can choose their primary residence when they are mature enough - should there be some indication of what constitutes mature enough, or is that okay? Neither of us are versed in the law.

Where it says visitation is not limited to the outlined time, should there be some stipulation that changes/additions should be agreed upon ahead of time - or does that mean he can just show up to pick them up even if they have something going on that particular weekend?

It says we both give each other our tax assessments - do I give him mine even if I am not paying child support? Do we need just our income or our family income?

I just want an agreement to really make things clear, and not more complicated or confusing than they already are. Is there anything else that I should be looking at here?
  #3  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:44 AM
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As an aside, I had sent him this suggestion in September 2010 that he never responded to:

Please keep in mind that I don't have legal input on this, so I have no idea if it was realistic, but the visitation arrangements that I had made more sense to me because they were more detailed. I don't know if I was wrong on any of it though. I had also suggested less for child support at the time because he wasn't paying, but if he's willing to follow the tables, I'll go with that.

We, MY NAME, (mother), and EX NAME, (father), as fit and loving parents have reached agreement on a parenting plan for our children, SON 1 and SON 2, born DATE and DATE, respectively.
We have developed this parenting agreement in good faith and on behalf of the best interests of our children.

Custody
We agree that MY NAME, (mother) shall be the primary residential parent for our children. We agree to joint legal custody of SON 1 and SON 2. All major decisions affecting their growth, health, education, welfare, and development shall be made jointly by us. If emergency medical treatment shall be required, the parent having care of the child(ren) at the time may arrange for treatment but shall notify the other parent as soon as possible.
We agree to consult with one another on all important school issues and events such as parent-teacher conferences and to jointly decide on changes of school curriculum, enrolment in extracurricular activities and attendance or participation in special school events.

Visitation
We agree that during the school year, which shall run from September to June, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every March Break Holiday and for one week during Christmas Holidays. We further agree that the week of Christmas Holidays shall alternate each year.
We agree that during the summer holidays, which shall run from July through August, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every for one month and that on even-numbered years their mother will have custody during July and their father will have custody during August, and that on odd-numbered years their father will have custody during July and their mother will have custody during August. We further agree that exceptions can be made jointly between both parents to the July-August rotation to accommodate special events and/or work schedules.
We agree to be flexible with our school year and summer visitation schedule and that changes/revisions to the schedule will be by mutual consent and with a minimum of thirty (30) days advance notice. Regardless of which parent our child(ren) are scheduled to visit during their vacations, we agree to adjust our respective plans to accommodate any activities our child(ren) are involved in. We agree to modify/rearrange our respective visitation schedules for visits by out-of-area relatives including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Parenting Decisions
Responsibility for day-to-day parenting decisions will rest with the parent with whom the child is then residing, including vacation and holiday parenting. Examples of parental day-to-day decisions include treatment of minor health problems and injuries, diet, television, house rules and discipline, bedtime, etc. Mother and Father will ensure that SON 1 and SON 2's school books, book bag, lunch and sports equipment (as required) will be given to them when they visit the other parent.
On all other significant matters involving the children, we agree to consult with each other always taking account of the children's best interests.
We agree that if one of us is unable to take care of our children, we shall notify the other parent so that parent has the option of providing for the personal care of our children, rather than a third party.
We agree to notify each other of any out-area trips with the children including destination and duration of the visit.

Family Communications
We agree that the non-residential parent has the right to unlimited conversation on the telephone and Internet with the children without interference from the residential parent at all reasonable times and places.
We agree to provide each other with residential and office phone numbers and to notify one another immediately if these numbers are changed.
We agree that both parents shall have the right to complete information from any physician, dentist, consultant or specialist attending to the child(ren)'s physical or mental needs for any reasons whatsoever, and to copies of any reports given to the other parent by such persons.
We agree that neither party shall obstruct the development and maintenance of love and affection between the children and the other party. Neither will interfere with reasonable and proper companionship with the other party, including reasonable communication by telephone or writing. Neither will do or say anything that may estrange the children from the other parent.
This parenting plan was developed by us in furtherance of our children's best interests.

Child Support Payments
We agree that the father will make monthly payments totaling $50.00 into an account for SON 1 and SON 2, and that this account will serve as an education fund for the children and will act as child support payments. We agree that this amount can be changed according to income level and determined by mutual consent.

Major Dispute/Changes in Circumstances
In the event of a major dispute or change in circumstances regarding the terms of this parenting plan, we agree to turn to mediation in an attempt to modify the plan either through a court appointed mediator or a private mediator of our own choosing before bringing any action before the court.

NAME __________________________________

NAME __________________________________

WITNESS _______________________________

DATE ___________________________________
  #4  
Old 09-26-2011, 11:20 AM
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Sorry this thread is ridiculously long. Really, I am sorry. Here is the email that I just sent to my ex - am I mistaken about any of it, or being unrealistic?:

Just off the top of my head, I think that we should make the bit about visitation more detailed, because I feel like that is a really important area.

Rather than:

The non primary residence shall have but not limited to, every other weekend.

What about something like:

We agree that during the school year, which shall run from September to June, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every other March Break Holiday and for one week during Christmas Holidays. Additionally, EX NAME will have visitation with the children every other weekend, with flexibility allowed for special circumstances and mutually agreed to by both parents. Additional weekend visitations will be allowed with communication and consent from both parents. We further agree that the week of Christmas Holidays shall alternate each year.

We agree that during the summer holidays, which shall run from July through August, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every for one month and that on even-numbered years their mother will have custody during July and their father will have custody during August, and that on odd-numbered years their father will have custody during July and their mother will have custody during August. We further agree that exceptions can be made jointly between both parents to the July-August rotation to accommodate special events and/or work schedules.

We agree to be flexible with our school year and summer visitation schedule and that changes/revisions to the schedule will be by mutual consent. Regardless of which parent our child(ren) are scheduled to visit during their vacations, we agree to adjust our respective plans to accommodate any activities our child(ren) are involved in. We agree to modify/rearrange our respective visitation schedules for visits by out-of-area relatives including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Obviously, you are welcome to amend that if you want to change something, and we can go from there - I am just thinking that having some more detail and especially with the wording of having flexibility and parents being able to make concessions for additional time or adjustments to time is important - noting that both parents have to agree (as in, I won't say, "Hey, you can't have them this weekend" or you won't say "Hey, I'm not taking them this weekend", but we could say, "Hey, can we trade weekends so SON can go to so-and-so's birthday party/because I have to work?" or "Hey, can I have them again this weekend cause their cousins are in town (or just because I want to)?" Hope that makes sense.

Sorry, I'm not trying to complicate it, I just want to make sure that we both have the same idea in our heads all the time so that we don't end up confused/disappointed - also I want to address everything that might come up.

As for birthdays, what if the birthday falls on the weekend?

The non primary residence shall have the weekend following the birthdays to allow for celebration of the children.

Do you not want to ever have them for their actual birthday? Should we alternate that?

Also, the part about extra costs being covered by the primary residence doesn't seem right to me. Section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines states:

Special or extraordinary expenses
7. (1) In a child support order the court may, on either spouse's request, provide for an amount to cover all or any portion of the following expenses, which expenses may be estimated, taking into account the necessity of the expense in relation to the child's best interests and the reasonableness of the expense in relation to the means of the spouses and those of the child and to the family's spending pattern prior to the separation:
(a) child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent's employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;
(b) that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
(c) health related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
(d) extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child's particular needs;
(e) expenses for post-secondary education; and
(f) extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
SOR/00-337, s. 1(1), (2), (3)
SOR/00-337, s. 1
Sharing of expense
(2) The guiding principle in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1) is that the expense is shared by the spouses in proportion to their respective incomes after deducting from the expense, the contribution, if any, from the child.


I am a little confused as to whether we calculate things based on our individual incomes, or our family incomes. If we are using individual incomes, mine will be comparable to yours, as I am not working right now either. If we are using our family incomes, that will probably make a pretty big difference, so we should get that figured out. Insofar as your income is considerably less than mine (or your family income is considerably less than ours), it makes sense that I would cover extra costs. But at such a point that you are making enough to contribute, than extra costs for medical expenses, extra curricular activities, education, day care, etc should be divided between us. Child Support in and of itself is meant to help cover just the day-to-day needs of the kids and not for the exceptional expenses in Section 7). I'm not comfortable leaving this as is:

1. The primary residence shall cover all extra costs of but not limited to; clothing, medical, education and extra curricular activities.

I would be more comfortable if we changed the wording so that we were both responsible for these costs in proportion to our respective incomes (at this time, that would likely mean you wouldn't be responsible for these costs right now, but once you are working you would be responsible for a portion of it, know what I mean?). I assume that you meant that line to refer to Section 7 costs, anyway - correct me if I am wrong. Also, we can add into the agreement that you wouldn't be responsible for extra curricular activities that you were not consulted on and agreed to (for example, I couldn't go and sign them up for karate, t-ball, art classes and soccer and then just show up expecting money from you for it without discussing it with you first - if you don't agree with the extra curricular and I still wanted to enrol them, I would be on the hook for the full cost. Does that make sense to you? It would go the other way too, if you signed them up for something in the summer without consulting me, I wouldn't be expected to pay for it as well.)

Anyway, I still need to look it over, and I also would like to give Sean a chance to look at it. Do you think it would be helpful to have the Family Law Office look it over to make sure that we didn't forget anything or that we are not mistaken about anything?
  #5  
Old 09-26-2011, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
2. The primary residence shall cover all extra costs of but not limited to; clothing, medical, education and extra curricular activities.
No. Medical, certain extra curriculars, and education (particularly anything out of the ordinary or vis a vis post secondary) are considered SECTION 7/Extraordinary expenses and need to be handled separately.

Quote:
And continue on each month until the children are no longer children as defined by under the Family Law
Words of advice... DEFINE IT in the agreement so there is no misunderstandings

Quote:
We understand custody arrangements and incomes change, and we agree when circumstances change to adjust the monthly sum according to the Child Support Guidelines.
How? When? Too vague.

Pay child support based on the table guidelines and the NOA of the prior tax year. Child support and section 7 pro rata split calculations to be done no later than June 30th of each year, with the payment schedule running from July to June. (this matches the CRA's recalculation of CCTB/UCCB/GST payments)

Quote:
Unless both live in the same city where primary residency will be split between either parties; or the children are mature enough to make a decision on which parent to live with and understand the implications.
No. Too complicated. Primary residence for the purpose of determining school zone/etc. That's all it should really mean anyway.

Quote:
IV. Basic Visitation Schedule

The non primary residence shall have but not limited to, every other weekend
Be SPECIFIC in terms of the days. Be specific regarding the pickup/drop off times and also vis a vis any make up time if it's missed. What happens if he doesn't show up for some reason? How long are you to wait until he's deemed a no show.

Quote:
V. Holidays

The holidays will alternate yearly except for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Be specific...what holidays...time they begin and end.

Quote:
VI. Birthdays

The non primary residence shall have the weekend following the birthdays to allow for celebration of the children
...regardless of the normal access schedule, and only if the birthdays do NOT fall on the non primary's access time already.

Quote:
VII. Vacations

The primary and non primary residence shall equally share summer; Christmas and March break unless other terms are agreed too.
Be specific. Pick up and drop off times. How will the time be split? For summer access in particular, how will the time be shared? week on week off, 2 weeks 2 weeks? What happens if someone wants to go away? Who picks what weeks first and by when? (ie. Summer access to be split 2 weeks in July/2 weeks in August, the mother picks her time first in even numbered years, the father first in odd numbered years. Week selection to be provided to the other party IN WRITING (ie. registered letter or email) no later than June 1 of each year)

Also, put in a note that the holiday and summer access times supercede the normal access schedule in place. Put in WHEN the normal time resumes. (ie. The summer access time begins the last weekend in June, and ends the last weekend in August)

Quote:
Weekend Visits
The exchange will take place at the primary residence; it is the responsibility of the non primary residence for pick up and returns.
For all access normal, holiday or otherwise, the NCP picks up to begin his access, the CP picks up to end it.

Quote:
Any changes to the schedule must be made:
• Verbally
• Can be made through E-mail
In writing. PERIOD. Do NOTHING verbally.

Quote:
Information sent home with the children from school will be shared between the parents in a timely manner.
No. The NCP will be permitted to speak to the school/teachers/etc, and to make his own arrangements for parent teacher conferences, copies of any notices, etc. The NCP will be the designated secondary contact for the school as well as any and all extra curricular, medical, religious, or education organizations and in the even that a decision of some kind is required, is permitted to make such a decision without consulting the CP.
  #6  
Old 09-26-2011, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
One is that it says primary residence is responsible for all extra costs, but wouldn't things like day care, extra curricular activities (unless he didn't agree to enrol them), education, medical expenses not covered by benefits - that sort of thing be paid for evenly by both parents? Or am I confused about that?
Usually you split extras pro rata to income. ie. you take YOUR income (from line 150 of your notice of assessment) add HIS income (from his line 150 notice of assessment) and then figure out what % of the total YOURS in, and what % of the total HIS is. THAT is the % you each pay for that year.

Then you redo the calculation every year (typically BEFORE June 30).

You need to flesh out the section 7 area for sure. A standard agreement would contain things like:

What constitutes an Extraordinary expenses, as defined under the Family Law Act...(quote the section).

Both parties must agree to the expense in writing prior to it being incurred, else the parent incurring the expense does so with the understanding that the other party does not have to contribute, barring a further order of the court.

Any agreed upon expenses will be paid for in full by CP, receipts to be submitted to NCP within 30 days of payment. NCP will reimburse CP his proportional share within 30 days of being provided the receipts.

Quote:
Also, where it says that the children can choose their primary residence when they are mature enough - should there be some indication of what constitutes mature enough, or is that okay? Neither of us are versed in the law.
Remove that section entirely. For what it's worth, the children can start expressing an opinion on where they live around the age of 12. At 14 their wishes are a virtual certainty (to the point that even the police won't retrieve them) and at 16 they can no longer be bound by a court order. (as they can legally choose where they wish to live). That isn't to say that you can ignore the order when they hit that age. IF THEY CHOOSE to not be involved with the other parent, as the CP you MUST enforce the court order, until such time as you can go back to court to have it re-written based on their decision.

Quote:
Where it says visitation is not limited to the outlined time, should there be some stipulation that changes/additions should be agreed upon ahead of time - or does that mean he can just show up to pick them up even if they have something going on that particular weekend?
Usually you should have a provision on extra time yes. Perhaps something along the lines of outlining his time, and adding the standard fluff clause of "other reasonable and generous access as agreed to by both parties".

Quote:
It says we both give each other our tax assessments - do I give him mine even if I am not paying child support? Do we need just our income or our family income?
Yes, you exchange them even if you have the kids more than 61% of the time. Reason is that SPECIAL EXPENSES (aka Section 7, aka Extraordinary expenses) are calculated pro rate to income. You would typically ONLY use YOUR income and HIS income. New partners do not come into play (UNLESS you are being supported by the new partner, ie. if you remarry and stay at home, then the new partner's income would be considered "yours" for the purpose of calculations)
  #7  
Old 09-26-2011, 02:27 PM
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NBDad - Thank you so much for all of your clarifications! I am going to go over this tonight, and I will make the corrections that you suggested. It is probably still a good idea to go to FLIC to review this before I sign it?
  #8  
Old 09-26-2011, 03:50 PM
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I just read your first post so far and had a few comments. Where others have already said something similar, I tried to omit my post from saying it again…
EX NAME and MY NAME shall have joint custody to SON 1 and SON 2. MY NAME shall have primary residency of the children.
Unless both live in the same city where primary residency will be split between either parties; or the children are mature enough to make a decision on which parent to live with and understand the implications.
Suggest you also remove the section in red. In general, try to avoid any ambiguous statements. Since the agreement can be amended or varied by a court order anyway, suggest you don’t make any agreements based on potential future eventualities. Besides, would it be in the best interests of your children? If I recall correctly, he lived pretty far away for a while and didn’t see them that frequently anyway. Would it be wise then to have a blanket statement that automatically splits their residences if he moves closer? If the children don’t have a solid relationship with him as it is, you may want to reconsider having this section in that would, if put in place, totally disrupt their lives if he moves to your city.
Child Support
And continue on each month until the children are no longer children as defined by under the Family Law
Change this section to read…and continue monthly in accordance with Ontario legislation.
We understand custody arrangements and incomes change, and we agree when circumstances change to adjust the monthly sum according to the Child Support Guidelines.
No. Delete this wording in its entirety. See other posters comments.
Just general food for thought as well. If he is going to school, you want to have the option to impute a financial income for child support even if he is going to school. Also, for your husband, for the section 7 expenses, you might want to be specific that only YOUR income is used for the purposes of calculating section 7 expenses, not both yours AND your husbands together (if you don’t specify this, your ex will try to make it so that you include the HOUSEHOLD income (meaning including your husband’s salary) as the total income to calculate section 7)
IV. Basic Visitation Schedule

The non primary residence shall have but not limited to, every other weekend

V. Holidays

The holidays will alternate yearly except for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

VI. Birthdays

The non primary residence shall have the weekend following the birthdays to allow for celebration of the children.

VII. Vacations

The primary and non primary residence shall equally share summer; Christmas and March break unless other terms are agreed too.

BE SPECIFIC. From when to when? What days?

Weekend Visits
The exchange will take place at the primary residence for all visits; it is the responsibility of the non primary residence for pick up and returns.
Delete the header titled Weekend Visits. And change the wording to say…It is the responsibility of the non-custodial parent to pick up and return their children from the primary residence. (Again, this goes back to my first comment. What happens if he moves to the same city and the children in effect, have NO primary residence? Who is responsible then?)

XVI. Decision Making

Day to Day Decision Making

The parent in whose care the children are at any given time will be responsible for the day to day decisions that need to be made during their time together.

This includes decisions regarding emergency health care and safety concerns.

XVII. Major Decisions

Both parents will collaborate on major decisions, such as education, non-emergency healthcare, and religious upbringing.

What is the process that exists right now regarding decision making? The only reason I ask is because if I recall, he wasn’t much involved in their lives before so, is it in your children’s best interests to have a father who is not familiar with their educational needs, health needs, general welfare now have input into major decision making? Just food for thought. I would try to word it so that it stays the way it is now.
But, if you do decide to go this route. I think you might want to be a little more specific on the major decisions stuff…you can both collaborate but who has final say if you disagree?

XX. Children’s Documents

The children's passports, birth certificates, and social insurance cards will be kept at primary residence. Both parents will have access to the documents as required.
The documents will be promptly returned following each use.

Be specific!!!! Change it to…will be held by the primary custodian mother. Access to travel documents by the non-custodial parent will not be unreasonably withheld. Travel documents for the children utilized by the non-custodial parent will be returned to the custodial mother within 3 days of returning from any scheduled and agreed to sojourn.
XXII. Additional Considerations
(A) Child Care- In the event child care is needed for the children the non primary residence will be given consideration before calling a babysitter.Remove this. It is not currently feasible anyway. He lives pretty far away.

(B) Permanent Changes to the Parenting Plan Agreement- In order for permanent changes to the agreement to be applied both parties has to agree and resign the agreement.

(C) Contact with Extended Family- The children’s contact with extended family members takes place during scheduled times with the primary/ non primary residence. That does not interfere with scheduled arrangements already in place.

B and C doesn’t seem right somehow. I think he has messed around with the wording a bit. Grammatically, it doesn’t make sense. You may want to try to find the document he used as his template.
(D) Legal Changes in regards to the children- any legal matters regarding the children shall be discussed between both residences.
Again, be specific. What does this mean exactly? You can both discuss it, but who has the finaly say? You should include that.









XXIII. Dispute Resolution Process

We agree that if a dispute occurs about any of the terms of this Parenting Plan, or any other issue regarding the children, we will first make a reasonable attempt to resolve the dispute between ourselves, including seeking any professional consultation which may be appropriate.

In the event that we are unable to reach a consensus, after having made a reasonable attempt to resolve the issue(s), we will attend mediation within fifteen (15) days from the time that the parent initiating the mediation has informed the other parent in writing of this intent. (We realize that the timeline of 15 days may be minimally extended to accommodate the mediator's schedule.) The parents will share equally the cost of mediation.

However, should a decision be required on an urgent basis, then either parent may proceed with an application to a Court of competent jurisdiction to determine the matter in issue.


This is WAY TOO AMBIGUOUS. I would delete it in its entirety.

Just another note, how about making the parenting plan effective for a certain period of time to be revisited in say, 6 months? If he has just moved closer to the children, it might be in their best interests to implement something on a trial basis and make changes after six months when you both can see what works, what doesn’t, and if any kinks need to be worked out…Just a suggestion.
I don’t know if any of the above is helpful, if not, please let me know as I won’t review the other additional posts as well…
Good luck!
  #9  
Old 09-27-2011, 07:35 AM
Ames Ames is offline
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Quote:
Suggest you also remove the section in red. In general, try to avoid any ambiguous statements. Since the agreement can be amended or varied by a court order anyway, suggest you don’t make any agreements based on potential future eventualities. Besides, would it be in the best interests of your children? If I recall correctly, he lived pretty far away for a while and didn’t see them that frequently anyway. Would it be wise then to have a blanket statement that automatically splits their residences if he moves closer? If the children don’t have a solid relationship with him as it is, you may want to reconsider having this section in that would, if put in place, totally disrupt their lives if he moves to your city.
I actually have been hoping that he would move to our city eventually so that the kids could see him more - they really do still have a relationship with him and want him around. So I don't want to put in that 50/50 would disrupt their lives or anything, but I do see your point. I have just removed any reference to 50/50 parenting completely and we can discuss that if and when it ever becomes a possibility.

As far as decision making, I have always kept him updated on the kids, so he is not out of the loop. I think that we basically have the same sentiments regarding their upbringing, so I don't feel uncomfortable with shared decision-making.

I don't agree with the extended family bit, I think if family has come from out of town we ought to both make concessions so that the boys get to see them. In my mind, that is for the greater good of the kids. So that is something that I want to still discuss with him. My husband has asked what happens if we make concessions on our time for his family, and he doesn't return the favour - my feeling is that is something that I can't control, but I still feel that I would do what I felt was in the boy's best interests anyway from my end.

I spent a couple of hours last night going through the whole thing and making everything more detailed and addressing all of the points made in this thread.

I will still go to have it looked over at the Family Law office before I sign it, though.

I do like the idea of reviewing it every six months so that we can see if we need to make changes, or we could just re-sign the same agreement if it is working for us.

I won't post it because it is 11 pages long.
  #10  
Old 09-27-2011, 08:58 AM
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Here is another stupid question. Is child support based only on the previous year's income, or on an average of the last three years?

If it is based on only his income, and only for last year, he won't be required to pay anything and I will have to wait at least until next summer for that to change (assuming he starts working before next summer). If it is based on the average of three years, he will have to pay child support - so it makes a big difference in this circumstance.

If it is three years, do we average three years every time, or is it just for the initial calculation of child support, and thereafter you base off of only the previous year's income?

I'm confused about this part, obviously.
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