Making plans: A guide to parenting arrangements after separation or divorce

Directory of Resources

Divorce Act

You can find more information about parenting arrangements, child support and other family law issues on the Family Law Section of the Department of Justice website. You may also contact the Department of Justice at:
Department of Justice Canada
284 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H8
Toll-free: 1-888-373-2222
National Capital Region: 613-946-2222

Provincial and Territorial Information

You will find links to the provincial and territorial government departments responsible for laws related to parenting arrangements and child support by clicking on "Helpful Links."

Information about Family Justice Services available in your jurisdiction

For information about family justice services in your province or territory, such as parent information, mediation, child-support recalculation services or supervised access, please see the Inventory of Government-based Family Justice Services.

To find contact information for the provincial and territorial programs responsible for enforcing child support orders and agreements, please see provincial and territorial maintenance enforcement programs.

Legal Advice and Information

If you need legal advice, you can contact a lawyer referral service or a legal aid office. They can help you get legal advice—sometimes for no fee or at a reduced fee. If you think that you might be interested in pursuing collaborative law, ask about lawyers who do this kind of work.

You can also contact a public legal education and information (PLEI) organization. PLEI organizations provide information to the public about many different areas of law, including family law.

Mediation

Each province and territory has mediation services available to couples who are separating. To find the service nearest you, please see the Inventory of Government-based Family Justice Services To find the names of private mediators in your community, please search the internet for "mediator" or "mediation services" and your city or area. For example, search for "mediator Yukon."

Resources for Children

If you think that your child is having trouble adjusting to the separation or divorce, you may want to speak to your family doctor, or another trusted professional who can refer you to a counsellor who works with children.

You can also look for provincial or territorial programs in your area in the Inventory of Government-based Family Justice Services The Department of Justice Canada has a publication for children aged nine to twelve called What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce. It's available at under

Websites for Children

The province of British Columbia also has a website called "Families Change" which provides information to parents and children who are going through separation or divorce. The Department of Justice Canada has a section on family violence for youth aged 10 and older. It provides information about family violence and the law in Canada.

Helplines or Distress Centres

Helplines or distress centres may be able to provide you with helpful information and refer you to appropriate services for yourself and your children. For example, Kids Help Phone has a helpline for children (for more information, see http://www.KidsHelpPhone.ca).

For other resources, you can do an internet search for "crisis line" or "distress centre" and your city or area to find one to help you or your children. For example, search "distress centre Manitoba."

Income Tax Rules

If you have questions about taxation and support payments, please see Canada Revenue Agency Form P102. You can also contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.

Child and Family Benefits

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers child and family benefits, such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Universal Child Care Benefit, and the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit.

To find out more about the benefit and credit programs the CRA administers, visit the Child and Family Benefits Web page or call 1-800-387-1193.

Aboriginal Services

You can find contact information about Friendship Centres across Canada on the National Association of Friendship Centres.

Services for Newcomers to Canada

For information on services for newcomers to Canada, please see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Directory of Newcomer Services.

Resources for Victims of Abuse

If you or your child has been a victim of family violence, you can find resource information in the family violence section of the Department of Justice Web site.

Supervised Access

For information on government-based supervised access programs in your area, please visit "Inventory of Government-based Family Justice Services."

Child Abduction

If you believe your child has been abducted

Immediately contact your local police.

If you believe your child has been taken outside Canada, see "International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents" for helpful resources.

If you are concerned your child may be abducted

You should raise your concerns with your family law lawyer and discuss various options. You may also want to alert your local police.

You can contact Passport Canada to add the name of the child on the Passport System Lookout, so if Passport Canada receives a passport application for your child, the system would create an alert. You can contact Passport Canada at 1-800-567-6868 (Canada and US Toll free) or visit passportcanada.gc.ca for more contact information.

If you believe your child may be taken outside Canada, you can also go to Government of Canada website. Look at "International Child Abduction" for other helpful resources.

You will find other helpful information in the Department of Justice Canada publication entitled, Child Abuse is Wrong.

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the important contributions of the provinces and territories, our federal partners, and external reviewers to the development of this guide and the Parenting Plan Tool. Public education and information documents as well as program materials from the provinces, territories, and federal partners were reviewed in developing this booklet and the Parenting Plan Tool. Provincial and territorial governments as well as our federal partners have kindly provided permission for the Department of Justice to use and adapt their materials for the purposes of this booklet and the Parenting Plan Tool.

We would also like to recognize the important work of federal, provincial and territorial officials, as well as a number of external family law experts, who took the time to review and provide input on the booklet and the Parenting Plan Tool.

Additional references

  • Australian Child Support Agency, "Me and my Changing Family."
  • Dr. Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth, On Death and Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy and their own families, (Scribner: New York, 2003.
  • Coloroso, Barbara, Parenting Through Crisis: Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief, and Change, (Penguin Canada: Toronto, 1999).
  • 2010-2011 Summit Committee of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Parenting Communication Resources in High Conflict Cases.
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