The court will usually approve a plan that has been mutually agreed upon by the parties with the parental rights and responsibilities. If there is a disagreement, the court will decide on a Parenting Plan after a hearing or trial. The court looks at various factors when coming to a decision, but the most critical issue is that the plan serves the best interests of the child.


Once the plan is finalised and signed by both parents, it becomes a legally binding agreement. When additionally filed with the Family Advocate’s Office, the agreement will be perused to determine conformity with the Children’s Act and amendments may be recommended and then the parties could apply for the plan to be made an order of the court.


A Parenting Plan has greater enforceability in law when it has been made an order of the court than when it has only been registered with the Family Advocate’s Office.


It is also important to note that the parties to the agreement are allowed by the Children’s Act to reassess the Parenting Plan from time to time to adapt to changing circumstances. It is advisable to reappraise the plan yearly at a minimum in a formal mediation session, as the needs of children change over time and the circumstances of parents may not allow for previous agreed upon conditions.