Sample Parenting Plan

BETWEEN

WENDY JONES (MOTHER)

AND

HAROLD JONES (FATHER)

We, Harold Jones and Wendy Jones, the parents of [NAME OF CHILD] (date of birth [DATE OF BIRTH]) and [NAME OF CHILD] (date of birth [DATE OF BIRTH]), make this Parenting Plan to help us meet our mutual responsibilities as parents and to further the welfare of our children. We are choosing to lessen the impact of our separation on our children by working together in a cooperative manner in our roles as parents.

BASIC PRINCIPLES

1. We acknowledge that this Plan cannot reflect all future needs of our children or ourselves. We are therefore committed to the spirit reflected in this Parenting Plan and are open to being flexible and willing to discuss and resolve parenting issues as they arise.

2. We acknowledge that we have a mutually shared interest and responsibility, including shared decision making, for our children’s upbringing. We believe that it is in the best interests of our children for both parents to be actively involved in their lives on a regular basis.

GUIDELINES FOR CO-PARENTING

3. We will try always to stay calm and child-focussed when we discuss issues related to our children.

4. We will speak directly with each other regarding parenting matters, and will not put our children in the middle to carry messages.

5. We will make every effort not to argue in the presence of the children.

6. We will not speak critically about each other or about each other’s parenting in front of our children. We will ask our family and friends to do this as well.

7. We will keep adult matters such as legal and financial issues firmly between us and away from our children.

8. We will not burden our children with such feelings as sadness, anger, and loneliness related to our separation.

9. We will respect the other parent’s right to privacy regarding his/her personal life.

10. We will encourage our children to have the best relationship possible with the other parent, and will not ask them to choose between us.

11. We will give each other the benefit of the doubt.

REGULAR PARENTING SCHEDULE

12. The children will spend one week (seven days) in the care of one parent, and the following week in the care of the other parent.

13. Transitions between the two homes will take place Friday after school. The parent receiving the children will pick them up after school. The other parent will return the children’s belongings to the receiving parent on Friday morning.

14. To simplify the transitions between the homes, we want to minimize the belongings going between the homes. While the children will be free to take special belongings from one home to another, we will encourage them to have special belongings at both homes. They will have clothes and other necessities at both homes.

15. We will develop and maintain the same list of sitters for our children to provide for consistency between the two homes.

16. We will both support a healthy diet and exercise for our children.

17. We believe that it is important that the non-residential parent and children have an opportunity to spend some time together during the week when the children are residing with the other parent. We therefore agree that on Wednesday the non-residential parent will pick up the children at the bus stop or at school, have dinner with them, and return them to the other parent’s home at 7:00 p.m.

18. The children are free to phone the non-residential parent any time (prior to bedtime). That parent may call the children every couple of days.

PARENTING SCHEDULE HOLIDAYS AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS

19. Changes to the schedule may be made with the agreement of both parents.

20. All holiday return times are 5:00 p.m. unless otherwise specified.

In the school year 2014 – 2015, the following will apply:

Thanksgiving Weekend:
21. The children will be in the care of their father for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Christmas:
22. The Christmas holiday period will be divided into two parts: Week 1, and Week 2. Week 1 will be the first part of the holiday, and will include Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Week 2 is the second part of the holiday, and will include New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

23. The children will spend the first week of Christmas with their mother. The father will pick up the children on Boxing Day at noon, and they will spend the second week in the care of their father.

March School Break:
24. The March school break is defined as the period from Friday after school until two Sundays later (that is, nine days) at 5:00 p.m. before supper. The children will be in the care of their mother for the March school break.

Easter:
25. Easter is defined as the period from after school on the Thursday before Easter until the following Monday at 5:00 p.m. The children will be in the care of their father for the Easter weekend.

May Long Weekend:
26. The children will be in the care of their mother for the three-day May long weekend.

27. In the following school year, this holiday schedule will alternate so that the children will be in the care of their mother for Thanksgiving, with their father for the first week of Christmas holidays, and so on.

Summer:
28. The summer school holiday (approximately nine weeks) will be shared equally by the parents.

29. Each parent may take a maximum of two consecutive weeks (Friday until Friday two weeks later) to spend with the children. Transition time will be at noon on Friday, unless the parents mutually agree on another time.

30. The remainder of the summer holiday period will be shared equally so that the children spend alternate weeks in the care of each parent. If there is an extra week, it will be divided so that the children spend half the week with each parent.

31. We will decide in the summer holiday by April 30 of each year.

32. If there is an uneven number of weeks in a given summer, then the parent who the children are not with prior to the last week of the summer (that last week will be shared equally by the parents) will be the parent with whom the children reside for the first week of school.

Hallowe’en
33. Regardless of the schedule, arrangements will be made for the children to see both parents on Hallowe’en.

Children’s Birthdays:
34. The non-residential parent is free to call the child on her or his birthday. The non-residential parent and the child are free to have a brief visit on the child’s actual date of birth (length of visit to be determined by the residential parent).

35. The children’s birthday parties involving friends will be jointly planned by the parents and will take place in a neutral setting.

Parents’ Birthdays:
36. Regardless of the regular schedule, if the children wish to see a parent on her or his actual birthday, then arrangements will be made for this visit.

Mother’s Day/Father’s Day
37. If the children are not regularly scheduled to be in the care of the parent being recognized, then the children may spend from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in the care of that parent. The regular schedule will then resume.

RIGHT OF FIRST OPPORTUNITY

38. When the residential parent will be out for an evening during a period which includes putting the children to bed, then that parent will ask a sitter to care for the children.

39. However, if the residential parent will be away for a period of time including an overnight, then the other parent will be first asked if she or he is available to care for the children. If he or she in available, then the children will be cared for by that parent. There will be no expectation by that parent needing the child care to make up for the period of time that he or she is absent.

40. Any other time a parent requires child care, it will be at his or her discretion regarding our children’s upbringing.

MAJOR DECISION-MAKING

41. We agree that we will both be involved in all major decisions regarding our children’s upbringing.

42. Major decisions include issues concerning our children’s education, health, religion, day care, extracurricular activities, and their general welfare.

43. In the event of any disagreement between us regarding a major decision pertaining to either or both of our children, we agree to follow the dispute resolution process outlined below.

MINOR DECISION-MAKING

44. Minor day-to-day parenting decisions are made by each parent independently during their own parenting time as long as such decisions do not impact on the other parent’s time with the children. When minor decisions do impact on the other parent’s time with our children, then that parent will participate jointly in the decision-making.

REGULAR HEALTH/DENTAL CARE (including emotional, psychological, and physical)

45. The parent booking an appointment will inform the other parent in a timely manner. The parent who is caring for the children during the week that the appointment falls is responsible for taking the child/ren. She or he will inform the other parent of the results. Both parents are also welcome to attend.

46. Each parent is free to individually access the health care professionals treating the children.

47. The children’s health cards and immunization records will travel with the children between the two homes.

EMERGENCIES

48. Each parent will be responsible for providing emergency medical and dental care during their own parenting time. Each parent is to notify the other parent as soon as reasonably possible of any illness requiring medical attention, or any emergency involving our children.

49. The parents agree to leave with each other instructions on how they can be reached in case of emergency.

50. In urgent situations regarding our children at school, we will do the following:

a. If the non-residential parent (of the week) is contacted by the school regarding the need for one or both of our children to be picked up at school for any reason (for example, illness or a snowstorm), then that parent will try to contact the residential parent.

b. If the residential parent is contacted, then it is his or her responsibility to pick up the child at school and to care for the child.

c. However, if the residential parent cannot be contacted, then the non-residential parent will pick up the child at school, care for the child, and leave a message for the residential parent regarding the situation. Once the residential parent becomes aware of the situation, it is his or her responsibility to care for the child.

d. If the child is ill and is at the home of the non-residential parent’s, then the residential parent, with input from the non-residential parent, with input from the non-residential parent, will make the decision regarding whether to have the child return to her or his home that day.

SCHOOL EVENTS/EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES/MEETINGS

51. We consider it to be important to our children that we both are frequently present at their school events, extracurricular activities, and any meetings pertaining to either or both of our children, regardless of their regular schedule.

52. When one of our children is participating in an activity (for example, a soccer game), the residential parent that week will take the child to the activity, and, by mutual agreement, the other parent may have the option to spend one on one time with the non-participating child. The parents will make such arrangements together prior to talking with the children.

53. If the residential parent is unable to take the child to an extracurricular activity, then that parent will first ask the other parent if he or she is available to do so. If that parent is unable to do so, then the parent initiating the request is responsible for making appropriate arrangements.

PARENTS’ COMMUNICATION ABOUT OUR CHILDREN

54. We will communicate by log book and electronic 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.)

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

TRAVEL WITH THE CHILDREN

56. 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.

PASSPORTS

57. The parents will initiate the process to obtain the children’s own passports once the parents have obtained the necessary documentation regarding their separation.

CHILDREN’S DOCUMENTS

58. The children’s passports, birth certificates, and social insurance cards will be kept in a safety deposit box . Both parents will have keys to the safety deposit box. We will inform the other parent when we will be accessing the documents.

59. The documents will be promptly returned to the safety deposit box following each use, and the other parent will be notified that they have been returned.

RELOCATION

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

61. However, in the event of unforseen 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 if the children. The parent who is relocating will discuss the relocation at least 90 days in advance with the other parent.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS

62. 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.

63. 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.

64. 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.

INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

65. 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.

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