Reach accord with a parenting plan

Just because Ontario couples divorce doesn’t mean that they still don’t have to cooperate with one another regarding parenting minor children. One of the best ways to do this is to draft a workable parenting agreement.

When included in your divorce judgment, parenting plans are legally binding. Courts have the authority to enforce the plans. If you got divorced without one and encounter thorny parenting disputes at a future point, you can revisit the issue in court.

Parents can reach accord through various processes — mediation, arbitration or the courts. Not all issues may need to be addressed in court, as you can reach agreement on many issues and turn to the court for a ruling on a particularly contentious matter.

It’s usually a good idea to attempt resolution between the parties first before moving on to legal remedies, but not all couples are good candidates for this type of solution. When there has been domestic violence or control issues in the relationship, it may not be wise or safe to try that route.

Family court lawyers can explain the responsibilities and rights of parents and provide them with paths to resolution for their conflicts. The courts tend to favor cooperative attempts to make the best possible decisions for your minor children.

The kids are subject to far less acrimony when parents are able to resolve disputes together. This approach allows parents to retain control over how they rear their children. As a side benefit, drafting a parenting plan is less expensive than protracted litigation. If all attempts fail, the courts can be a final arbiter for parental matters.

Source: Department of Justice, Canada, “A guide to parenting arrangements after separation or divorce,” accessed March 04, 2016

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