Parenting & Custody
Our intention is to help reduce feeling stress and disconnection by encouraging parents to keep their child’s best interest in mind by responsibly co-parenting and communicating in an amicable manner.
The way the courts understand parenting and custody:
- Parenting means physical time a parent spends with the child(ren).
- Custody means decision making powers with respect to the child(ren)
- Primary parent, who has the child more than 60% of the time;
- Shared parent, who has the child more than 40%.
- Visiting parent, who has the child less than 40%
Retaining a lawyer does not mean you will end up in Court
Our focus is to assist you with drafting a parenting plan that can be filed with the Court by way of consent. We take pride in our ability to create an agreement by balancing compassion with thorough and strenuous negotiations to reach an agreement without the Court’s intervention.
Negotiated settlements typically offer the best overall outcomes. They often reduce costs and stress levels and can preserve relationships. This is especially important where young child are involved to help ensure effective communication with your partner for the years to follow.
If it turns out you do need to go to court to reach an agreement our team can assist you by recommending the best approach dependent upon your unique circumstances.
Shared parenting and custody essentials
Guardianship is viewed as parental responsibilities. After you separate, both parents continue to be guardians but need to establish how each parent will continue making decisions about the child. The law does not assume that any specific arrangement is in the child's best interests after separation nor does the Court system assume that equal parental responsibilities are in the child best interests.
- Make day-to-day decisions
- Have day-to-day physical care and supervision of the child
- Decide where your child will live
- Decide who your child will associate with
- Apply for passports
- Receive information from others about your child including health and education updates
- Make decisions about your child's education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, healthcare, and other important issues
- You can share or divide parental responsibilities in a way that works best for your child
- The time each parent spends with the child
- Parenting time includes making day-to-day decisions about and being responsible for the care and supervision of the child
- Parenting time is decided on the basis of the best interests of the child
- Time is equally shared between the guardians
- The child lives only with one guardian
- Anything in between
We suggest that you do Parenting After Separation Online Course. This is a mandatory course for parents or guardians who are separating or getting a divorce. You will know about the following issues, which will help you in the long run:
- building relationships;
- how separation affects parents;
- how separation affects child;
- communication skills;
- legal issues;
- alternative dispute resolution; and
- parenting plans.
Its free and you can do it online, here is the link: http://pas.albertacourts.ab.ca/
Supervised parenting time means that the parenting time with the child will have to be supervised by either a professional agency or person or with a family member. This means that on a temporary basis, someone will need to watch the parent and the child, and how they interact with them. This usually happens in situations where the other parent alleges that the child is not safe with the other parent or if there are drugs involved.
Separating parents must know how to communicate effectively with the child’s other parent or guardian after separation. You or your ex. Spouse or partner can do Focus on Communication Course. The Course includes the following topic:
- how parenting conflict impacts a child’s listening skills;
- definitions of conflict;
- using questions, paraphrases and summarizing techniques;
- conflict styles and the conflict cycle;
- how mindsets affect perceptions and responses to events;
- anger triggers;
how perceptions affect misunderstandings and communications; and
how to better express your feelings.
Here is the link: https://www.the-family-centre.com/focis-registration/
As a Family and Divorce Lawyer, we hear the following all the times and they are myths:
Myth: “ I am the mother and I should be the primary caregiver”.
Fact: That is relevant but there are other factors the court will consider.
Myth:“ I am the father and I do not have any chance to become the primary caregiver”.
Fact: If you are able to look after the child as a primary parent then why not.
Myth: “ He has a criminal record, therefore, he can never have shared parenting”.
Fact: As long as the child is safe with you, you have a shot for shared parenting.
Myth: “An expensive and aggressive lawyer can get you the sole custody and primary parenting in no time”.
Fact: The Court is going to consider the best interest of the child. It doesn’t matter if your lawyer is expensive and aggressive.
Please visit Alberta Government website