Parenting after separation is typically the single most difficult piece to resolve when it comes to separation and divorce. Many couples don’t realize the magnitude of decisions and day-to-day tasks that they will need to consider when making a parenting plan. It is important to consider items such as who will have time with the kids for each holiday, who has a say in extracurricular activities, family vacations, and what happens when a parent is away or sick and can’t take the kids during their designated time.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the matters that parents need to discuss. Without a proper strategy, open communication, and in-depth conversations about these important topics, frustration and resentment can foster between parents, which is never in the best interests of the children.
In Alberta and British Columbia, the Parenting After Separation (“PAS”) course is available to help guide families through the difficult process of separation and divorce. In Alberta, the standard PAS course is required by the Courts before you file a divorce application or a Family Law Act application. There is also a Parenting After Separation for Families in High Conflict that may be recommended by your legal counsel or in some circumstances, mandated through the courts.
Parents also have the option to take the course voluntarily even if they are not proceeding through the court system. The course is free for everyone and is a great tool for ensuring the children are protected from the conflict of divorce.
What is included in the Parenting After Separation Course?
The PAS course covers:
- The legal process of separation or divorce, including dispute resolution options
- Building and maintaining amicable relationships during the separation process
- How separation affects parents and children
- How to help children adjust after separation or divorce
- How to deal with legal issues that can arise
- Communication skills
- How to prepare a parenting plan.
The safety and comfort of children during separation should be the priority for parents. The intended goal of the Parenting After Separation course is to ensure that children feel secure, that both parents will make sound decisions, and parents continue to care for children in a meaningful way. This is important because children need consistency, especially during a time that can have a significant and long-term impact on their life.
The benefits of taking the Parenting After Separation course during separation
The most important benefit of taking the Parenting After Separation course is that it helps make separation and divorce as painless as possible for the children involved. A parenting course teaches you how to co-parent respectfully, can help you identify signs of stress in children, and can help you be more aware of when the child is in emotional distress. The bottom line: children deserve to be protected from their parents’ conflicts and never used as pawns in a divorce.
The Court takes this very seriously, which is why a parenting course is mandatory in all court proceedings involving children. Some of the benefits of taking a parenting course include:
- A better understanding of how children at each age handle separation and divorce
- A better understanding of how to anticipate what will be difficult for children, how to make situations easier for them, and what they cannot handle
- Awareness of the signs of stress in children
- An improved relationship with the other parent, despite any conflicts.
- Learning the legal system, including the rights of each parent, child support, mediation, and how to handle disputes
- The tools, strategies, and communication skills needed to create a parenting plan that works for your family, including room for flexibility while honouring the commitment.
Parenting courses help families reduce conflict and keep children’s best interests at the forefront.
Planning parental care with family mediation
Family mediation can be a successful tool to resolve disputes and come to a fair agreement without having to go to court. Mediation involves a neutral third party who assists in facilitating effective communication in order to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. At Jones Divorce and Family Law, our Calgary divorce lawyers and mediators have had great success in helping families create parenting plans that work for their unique family needs.
If you are going through a divorce, you need an experienced lawyer to help you understand your rights and explore your options. We can help – contact us to book an initial consultation.