Whether children came as part of your marriage, or your partner, and or you, had children when you were married or became common law, you will at some point need to work out how your children will be raised. In addition to deciding what values your child will be raised with you will also need to determine how you and your partner will share the parenting responsibilities and time with the child. These aspects of divorce and separation previously termed custody and access have been replaced with the new terms guardianship and parenting time respectively.
Guardianship - Custody
Guardianship gives authority to parents or adults to make decisions about how the child should be brought up. Such decisions include: what school the child should go to, what religion will they be brought up with, what language will they speak, what sports they can or can’t play and so on.
Statistically children do best when guardianship is joint or shared between the parents or adults involved and both parents provide input into any agreements and decisions made. However, we understand that every family is unique and circumstances may now allow for this. No matter you situation we will find a solution that has your needs and above all your child’s needs and interests at heart.
How is Guardianship Determined?
In 2013 The Family Law Act put the interests of the child at the top of the priority list. Therefore custody or guardianship decisions are made with the child’s best interests at heart. This includes their psychological and emotional security and their well being. More over the Family Law Act highlights that guardianship and parenting time are not parental rights. Rather several factors are considered in determining guardianship. Some of the most prominent of which include:
- An evaluation of the parent’s role and relationship with the child or children
- The proposed plan for the child’s future care
- The parent's willingness to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent
- The presence or absence of violence or history of violence whether it be emotional, financial, psychological or physical.
- The presence or absence of drug or alcohol addiction.
- The child’s safety
Although parents are often the first choice for guardianship, non-parental guardianship is possible should the court find it is in the child’s best interests.
Your child’s safety is of paramount importance. If you fear that your child’s safety may be at risk contact us. We can help. We'll listen to your situation and provide you with advice and options to keep your child safe. Some options include organizing an intervention via medial or other professional means or seeking sole guardianship or reduced parenting time. If necessary we will file a restraining order to make sure your child is safe.
Complications with Guardianship and Parenting Time
As life moves forward and careers, life goals, new relationships evolve for each parent complications can arise around guardianship and Parenting time. For instance what happens when one parent moves away for work or other reasons? How will you maintain equal parenting time and guardianship in such cases? We can help to ensure your parenting agreements are kept up to date so no surprises arise a long the way. If you anticipate life changes that might affect guardianship or parenting time of your child contact us. We understand the importance of maintaining relationships with your children and we will help you to find a solution that meets your unique family needs.