Parenting can be challenging in the best of times – it should not be made harder by your divorce or separation. My goal is to resolve parenting disputes out of court as the litigation process can be distressing to children and their families. By resolving your parenting disputes in a low-conflict manner, you will ensure your child’s best interests are protected.
I will provide you with the information you need so that you will be well informed about your rights and obligations with respect to your child or children. I recognize that parenting issues are sensitive and complex, so I encourage the involvement of Parenting Coaches in the dispute resolution process. These coaches are Registered Clinical Counsellors who help lawyers diffuse high-conflict parenting situations 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 "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 laws 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 uses the terms “parenting arrangements” (meaning the general parenting regime); “parenting time” (meaning the time a parent has with a child); “guardians” (the persons, usually the biological parents, who have decision-making rights and responsibilities with respect to a child); and “contact” (the time a non-guardian has with child).
The Divorce Act uses the terms “custody” (which means physical custody and decision making) and “access” (the parenting schedule of the spouse who sees the child for the least amount of time, or of someone who isn’t a parent).
The Federal Government has amended the Divorce Act to eliminate the terms custody and access in favour of the terms similar to those used in the Family Law Act, however, these changes do not apply until the new law comes into force. Due to extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada deferred the coming into force date of changes to the Divorce Act until March 1, 2021.
Do you need assistance with guardianship and custody?
I am a knowledgeable and practical lawyer whom you can trust. 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.