11 June 2013

Department of Justice Releases Helpful Parenting Plan Tools

The Department of Justice has continued to expand its excellent Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative with three important new public legal education resources designed to help separating parents create parenting plans for their children.

If you go to the Family Law page on the Department's nicely redesigned website and click on the "Custody and Parenting" link you'll see four main subjects:
  • Create a parenting plan
  • Protect your children
  • Help your kids cope
  • Information for grandparents
Clicking on the "Create a parenting plan" link will take you to a new page with links to the three new resources, Making Parenting Plans, a Parenting Plan Checklist and a Parenting Plan Tool. The Department's backgrounder says this about the first and third resources:
"Making Plans gives parents information about what issues they need to address when coming up with a parenting arrangement after divorce (ex. schedule for time with children), as well as the processes that they can use to come up with this arrangement (ex. mediation, negotiation). This product promotes agreements between parents by emphasizing the importance of good communication, reducing conflict, and building a co-parenting relationship that focuses on the best interests of children.  
"The Parenting Plan Tool is a companion product to Making Plans. It is a practical guide to help parents develop a parenting plan. The Parenting Plan Tool contains sample clauses that parents can use as a starting point in developing their parenting plan."
These resources all give good, practical advice about planning for the care of children after separation and are well worth reading. The Department's backgrounder says that a PDF version of the resources will be available soon; that may be easier to use than the web-based version which breaks the resources into individual pages that can be somewhat difficult to browse through.

Another very useful feature of the Family Law page is the Child Support Calculator. You can't go wrong when you get your calculations from the horse's mouth.

My thanks to the incomparable Nick Bala, professor at the Queen's University Faculty of Law, for bringing the backgrounder to my attention.