The AFCC-O is undertaking a project to prepare a Parenting Plan Guide and Parenting Plan Template to assist parents, lawyers, mediators and judges in developing child-focused, realistic parenting plans. The Guide provides suggestions to help improve communication between parents, and guidance for the making of schedules and other aspects of parenting plans. The Guide summarizes developmental literature about appropriate residential schedules for children of different ages. Its central theme is that in most cases it is in the best interests of children for parents to cooperate and minimize conflict between them, and for their children to have a significant relationship with both parents, though it also raises “red flags” for cases involving domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues where court involvement may be needed. The Template offers suggestions for specific clauses that can be used or adapted for a parenting plan.
A Task Force is preparing the materials, and on Sept. 12, 2019 released draft materials to the AFCC-O membership for consultation. The Task Force invites comments from members of the AFCC-O and others by November 25, 2019, to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The draft materials are available on the AFCC-O website, and the final versions should be available early in 2020. The final version will have graphics and layout to make them more readable for parents.
The preparation of these materials is part of a process of preparing for the implementation of the Divorce Act Reforms (Bill C-78), which come into force on July 1, 2020, though the materials will be useful even before the reforms come into effect.
The materials are being prepared by a 10 member Task Force with the following membership:
- Nicholas Bala, Law professor, Kingston (Chair)
- Rachel Birnbaum, Social Work professor, London
- Brian Burke, Family lawyer, Toronto
- Crystal George, Co-ordinator of Social Services, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Sarnia
- Kim Harris, Psychologist, London
- Andrea Himel, Family lawyer, adjudicator & mediator, Toronto
- Carolyn Leach, Children’s Lawyer, Toronto
- Rana Pishva, Psychologist, Ottawa
- Michael Saini, Social Work professor, University of Toronto
- Jennifer Wilson, Family lawyer, Toronto