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Child Custody

Parenting Agreements

Every family is different and unique so it's logical that every parenting agreement should likewise be unique. Likewise the dynamics of a family are constantly changing and therefore a dynamic parenting agreement that accounts for unpredictable changes can save a lot of time, conflict and arguments down the road. At Levine and Company we will take the time to determine your unique family needs based on your needs, your partners and at the heart your child's needs. We will work with you and guide you though this process to help you create a unique plan that meets your family's needs now and in the future.

Creating a Parenting Plan

We will guide you every step of the way, but here is a general overview of some of the most common things that you will want to consider when creating a parenting plan.

What will your child's home life look like? Will your child live primarily with one parent and visit the other regularly? Or will your child spend equal time living at each parents home. Another factor to consider that may influence your above decisions to make will be determining how far a part the parents will live from one another. Depending on how far apart you are you will also want to know how you will communicate with your child.

How your child will be brought up may take some time but it works best if both parents provide input early on. Consider the values you child will be brought up, their religion, languages spoken at home, and rules around the house that the parents agree upon. Such rules might include limiting TV or internet time, having your child help with chores around the house, doing a certain amount of exercise each week, eating healthy and so on. If you and your partner speak different languages you will also want to consider what languages will be spoken at home and what you child's education will look like. What school should they go to. Which parent will attend the parent teacher meetings. How will you or who will keep track of your child's school records.

Consider Vacations and Holidays. How will you divide up the holiday time with your child? Will the holidays be shared year to year or will they be divided up within a year? Where will your child spend their summer vacations and school holidays and how will you deal with and share visits to extended family members?

What about your child's health care? How will you share their medical information? Who will pay for medical and dental expenses for your child? What will the plan if your child gets sick at school?

Although you can't plan for every situation in the future it helps to consider the possibility of major life changes such as one parent moving far away possibly even out of the county. What will the plan be then? What plans will you have in place to help resolve future disputes that may come up when life changing events occur for your child or for you or your spouse/partner. Its best to work out as many of these details before hand to avoid costly disputes and surprises down the road.

Like the law we will always put your child's best interests first. Well guide you though the process and ensure as many details as possible are worked out ahead when the parenting plan is created to ensure the plan is successful in the future. Plans have the best chance of success when both parents provide input and have their child's best interests at heart.

That being said we understand that not every situation allows for harmonious mutual input. In difficult custody situations when things become contested and there are allegations being made of abuse or addiction you will need a strong advocate on your side. Our Lawyers have extensive experience in the field of family law and will not hesitate to take your case to court if necessary to protect the safety of your children. Contact us to get started.


How Parenting Agreements Work for Common Law Parents

In common law relationships family law does still apply and you have the same rights and responsibilities. However, you can seek legal parental status as an added precaution. If you find that your child's rights are being threatened or your former partner is refusing to pay financial support, or your partner or other family member is trying to take your child away contact us. We can provide the support you need and guide you through the process to find a resolution that works for you and your child.

It has been suggested by psychological studies that a child's development happens best when they have contact and support from both parents. Therefore the law and our firm strive to find a solution that allows both parents to contribute to their child's upbringing. We find mediation and collaborative law to be quite successful when creating parenting plans with the benefit of keeping the decision making in your control rather than the court. However, our family Lawyers at Levine and Co are prepared to protect or your child's interests and your interests in court should circumstances dictate a non harmonious resolution.

In our custody practice your Child's well being is our highest priority. We wont just help you to find a parenting solution, we will help you find the best solution we can to fit the unique needs of your family.


Common Law and Parenting Responsibility in BC

Generally, in British Columbia, the law considers the child's biological parents to be as the child's legal guardian's even if the parents are were not married at the time of birth. So what happens if the parents decide to split up before their child is born? This depends on your current living situations leading up to the point at which you split up and the time of the baby's birth. If you lived in a marriage like relationship with your partner within 300 days of the baby's birth you can be considered to be the parent.

What happens if one parent denies or claims to be the father of a child? A DNA paternity test is the most concrete way to determine biological paternity. However, a costly DNA test is not always necessary. We can help guide you through your options here. We want the best for your family and we will always put you and your child's interests first. Contact us to get started.

Child Custody and Extended Family

As a grandparent you may be wondering what you can do to maintain your relationship with your grandchild after your son or daughter and their partner have split up. The law and our Lawyer's at Levine and co understand that it takes more than just two parents to raise a child. Weather you are a grand parent another relative or other non guardian, we can help you understand and utilize your options to maintain your relationship with the children you care about.

If you find yourself in a situation where you disagree with the parents, you may wonder what you can do. In terms of the law the parents have the authority to determine whom their child or children has contact with. Expressing your concern as a grandparent and talking things out may help if you are being cut off from your grandchild. However, there are some legal options available to grandparents and other non guardians. A family order from the court can help to re-establish or preserve contact with grandchildren but this route has no guarantees. If you have a history of conflict with the parents of the child, the chances of the solution via this route grow slimmer. Such actions may also be considered harmful to the child by the court if the order is deemed to cause to much volatility among the family relationships. Therefore you will need to prove that the benefits of the order for the child will out way the costs.

If you are concerned about your grandchild we can help. We will listen to your concerns guide you though your options and find the best possible solutions we can to help you maintain contact with the child you care about. We can help by negotiating certain conditions for contact, scheduling supervised visits and set specific times or places for visits. When we hear your case we will be honest and upfront with what we think is possible.

When can a relative or grandparent become a legal guardian?

Grandparents, relatives or close friends cannot become legal guardians by agreement. They must be named through a court order or a Will. However, there are several reasons why a grandparent or other relative may wish to seek guardianship. For instance if a parent has addiction issues or a parent is serving time in jail or if a parent has passed away or moved for military or other reasons. In these cases the court can grant orders to establish guardianship provided the guardianship is the in the best interests of the child. In such cases the details are extremely important so having an experienced guide help you fill out all of the required forms and background checks can be very valuable. To learn more about your options please contact us.

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