Parenting can be challenging in the best of times – it should not be made more difficult by your separation or divorce. My goal is to resolve parenting disputes out of court, as the litigation process is often harmful to children and families. By resolving your parenting disputes in a low-conflict manner, I help you ensure that your children’s best interests are protected.
I recognize that parenting issues are sensitive and complex, and thus encourage the involvement of Parenting Coaches (also known as Divorce Coaches). These coaches are Registered Clinical Counsellors who help lawyers diffuse high-conflict parenting disputes and devise comprehensive co-parenting agreements.
Facts about parenting arrangements, guardianship, custody & access
- • The most important consideration in determining parenting arrangements is a child's "best interests." The factors that are considered in a best interests analysis are listed at section 37 of the Family Law Act and section 16 of the Divorce Act.
- • The "best interests" analysis is complex and will depend on the unique facts of each case.
- • Generally, a child's best interest will be fostered in a situation where their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health is cared for.
- • There is no presumption that the mother or father will have more rights or time with a child. The general rule is that a child will have the maximum amount of time with each parent that is in accordance with their best interests (this is called the principle of "maximum contact"). This often means a shared parenting arrangement where both parents have approximately equal time with a child.
What the law says
Parenting is governed by both the Family Law Act (common law and married spouses) and the Divorce Act (married spouses only).
The Family Law Act is B.C.’s provincial family law legislation, and the Divorce Act is the federal legislation. The Family Law Act uses the terms “parenting arrangements” meaning the general parenting regime; “guardian”/ “guardianship” meaning the persons, usually the biological parents, who have decision-making rights and responsibilities with respect to a child; “parenting time” meaning the time a guardian has with a child; and “contact” meaning the time a non-guardian has with a child.
The Divorce Act uses the term “decision-making responsibilities” meaning the rights spouses have with respect to a child; and (like the Family Law Act) also uses the term “parenting time” to mean the time a spouse has with a child. It is important to note that the Divorce Act formerly used the language of “custody,” but this language was removed in 2021.
Do you need assistance with guardianship and custody?
I am a knowledgeable and practical lawyer whom you can trust. I will make sure that you will be well informed about your rights and obligations with respect to your child or children. My goal is to determine the solution that is best for you and your family. I will advise you on your parenting rights and obligations and equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions. I am accessible, which means prompt responses to your questions, emails, and phone calls.