The decision to leave or divorce a partner can be a difficult choice to make for some couples. In certain situations, one partner may never want to see or speak to the other partner ever again. However, this may not be possible in situations where children are involved.
If you and your ex-spouse both want to participate in your child’s life, and it’s in the child’s best interests, you may have to interact with your former partner for many years to come. In these situations, it’s best to have a game plan for how both parents will co-parent their child.
As outlined on the Government of Canada website, you can formalize such a plan through a parenting agreement. This agreement can act as a guide for how to proceed as co-parents, and what to do when grey areas come up.
The site outlines some of the more contentious points, such as which holidays a child gets to spend with each parent, or taking a child on family vacations. But you may also want to make sure you cover other details, such as contacting the other parent about school issues, or how many hours of video-gaming is appropriate on a school night, and other issues where parents may need to present a united front.
Many parenting situations can fall under a parenting agreement. Examples include deciding over when a child can stay over at a friend’s house, allowances and spending privileges – even up to coordinating which parent should take a child for a haircut or doctor’s appointment.
The important part of parenting agreements is that you don’t have to have all the answers worked out right now. But you should know how you will communicate with each other while avoiding toxic arguments, and more importantly, how you both will each a decision that is in your child’s best interest.
If you have questions about creating a parenting plan, and what you are allowed to include, it’s best advised to consult an experienced family lawyer. He or she can help you understand how a parenting plan works, and assist you and your former partner on drafting an agreement that satisfies both of you.