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- What are child custody laws in Alberta?
In Alberta, we no longer use the term “custody”. What was traditionally referred to as custody is now divided into two areas:
(1) Allocation of Major Decision-Making Responsibilities and (2) Parenting Time.
(1) The Allocation of Major Decision-Making Responsibilities covers major decisions regarding education, religion, health care and extracurricular activities and can be shared equally between the parents, can be allocated to only one parent or be divided. In Alberta, joint decision-making or co-parenting is preferred unless the parents are incapable of making decisions together.
(2) Parenting time is what used to be referred to as “visitation” and is the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
It is almost always better for the parents to make decisions on behalf of their child as opposed to a Judge.
Our Calgary Child Custody lawyers can negotiate both decision-making terms and parenting time with your spouse. Having said that, our Calgary Child Parenting Lawyers are comfortable litigating and regularly appear in the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Court of Alberta on contested matters.
- What does “Parenting” mean?
Under the Divorce Act and Alberta’s Family Law Act, parenting refers to decision-making authority for the child and as well parenting time with the child.
What does decision-making authority mean?
There are mainly three different kinds of decision-making authority: sole, joint and parallel parenting (or divided parenting). As you could guess, sole decision-making authority means that one parent is making the decisions, and joint or co-parenting means that the parents are making the decisions together.
Decision-making authority is mainly for four major categories: education; religion, health care and extracurricular. Each category has to be allocated either to both parents together or to one parent individually. This is not to say that all four categories are a “package deal”. The parties could agree and an agreement can be drafted. Otherwise, our Calgary Child custody lawyers could make an application to the court to obtain a child parenting order.
What is parallel-parenting?
Parallel parenting, means that each parent is in charge of the custodial decisions while the children are under that parent's care. It is parenting without traditional co-parenting and communication and therefore the parents do have to engage in frequent discussions, except emergency or other serious issue.
The goal of parallel parenting is to avoid conflict in front of the children. Please contact our Calgary Child custody lawyers at Laws & Beyond to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this type of arrangement.
How do I create a Parenting Plan?
The following resources will help create a parenting plan: Parenting Plan Tools and Parenting Plan Checklist at the Department of Justice website.
What does split custody mean? What is shared custody?
Split custody means situations where one or more children live with each parent more than 60% of the time. This term is normally used in the child support context. Shared custody refers to situations where a child lives at least 40 percent of the time with each parent. This is normally used in the child support context.
What determines which parent the child has majority time with?
Parenting time is based upon the best interests of the child. In order to determine what is in the “best interests” of the child, the courts consider a multitude of factors, including:
Because the Court can consider any other factor it deems relevant, there is no way to have an exhaustive list of all the things a Judge may consider. Each child and family is different and subject to its own circumstances.
What does “best interests” of the child imply?
When you are deciding on parenting arrangements, it's important to focus on the best interests of your children. While there is no precise definition of the "best interests of the child", one way to think about it is to consider what parenting arrangement will best encourage your children's development, happiness and success. Every child and family is different. You should try to look at this through your child's eyes.
In deciding on a parenting arrangement, per the Department of Justice you'll want to consider issues like:
It's also important to consider specific issues that may affect your children's safety and either parent's parenting abilities, such as family violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Why would a Calgary child custody lawyer be necessary to set up custody?
“Custody” is a very complex issue. Nothing is more personal than someone’s children and it is vital to know all the options available to you. Many people try to focus on what is “right” or what they believe to be fair. It is hard for most people to reconcile what they believe to be the right thing for their children, what the relevant factors are and how they are going to try to co-parent going forward, with what is provided for under the law. At Laws & Beyond, our Calgary child parenting lawyers are tasked with interlinking what a parent thinks is best for their child with what the law requires to provide for the best outcome for the parents and the child(ren).
How can your Calgary child custody lawyers help someone get more time with their child?
Parenting time is always modifiable. If something has changed with either parent or with the child(ren), an existing parenting time arrangement can always be amended to suit the best needs of the child. Our experienced Calgary child parenting lawyers at Laws & Beyond have extensive experience with mediation and collaborative processes. In the event a matter cannot be settled between the parties by mediation or other collaborative processes, then our Calgary Child custody lawyers will assist you in navigating the litigation process, including the appointment of experts to perform evaluations, and to determine what is in the child’s best interest.
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