A parenting plan is a written agreement, which sets out clear parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the minor children, usually following a divorce. A parenting plan may  be drawn up with the assistance of  a family law attorney to address where and with whom the child/children will reside, the contact enjoyed by each parent/guardian, the extent of each parent/guardian’s decision-making, which dispute resolution mechanisms should be implemented, and any other issue regarding the child that the parents/guardians wish to regulate.

The Children’s Act requires co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights to attempt to agree on the terms of a parenting plan before either of them seek the intervention of the court. Once the parties are in agreement, it is highly advisable to make the parenting plan an order of court.


A parenting plan is not cast in stone and may need to be reviewed and amended from time to time as the child/children grow older. The care and contact arrangements in respect of a minor child set out in a divorce order or a parenting plan that has been made an order of court cannot be unilaterally altered by one parent. Such an order may only be amended or terminated by agreement between the parties or on application to court by a person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child, by the child acting with leave of the court, or by a person acting in the child’s interest.

The court will only vary the care and contact arrangements if it is in the child’s best interest to do so. In determining what would serve the child’s best interest, a child who is of such an age, maturity, and stage of development to participate in decisions affecting them may participate in the process so that their opinions are given due consideration.