Parental Access in Edmonton and Alberta

Family Lawyers EdmontonWhen family relationships become difficult or break down, nothing is more important than protecting your connection with your child. Unfortunately, when your child needs you the most, you are likely overwhelmed by legal issues and the need to make important decisions.

In Alberta, a child has the right to have access to, or contact with, both parents. Access can be detailed in a specific schedule, or the parents may request reasonable access, which is when both agree to use a flexible schedule.

You can apply for a Custody and Access Order if:

  • You want to gain the rights and responsibilities for your child
  • You want to gain access rights to visit your child
  • Your divorce action has started
  • Your child lives in Alberta

Every family situation is unique, and no matter where you are in the process, we can help.

At Chadi & Company, we understand how difficult it is to make sense of your options and rights during such an emotionally charged time. Let us help you navigate this complex legal process so that you can focus on the well-being of your children.

We have decades of experience in helping families deal with parenting access issues in Edmonton and throughout Alberta.

Alberta Parenting Orders

The best interests of the child are the main consideration of the court in making a parenting order.

In Alberta, a Parenting Order stipulates whether one or both parents can make important decisions on the child’s behalf, and how much time the child will spend with each parent.

The primary difference between a parenting order and a “traditional” custody order is that a parenting order applies when no divorce action has been started.

The court must consider the physical, emotional, and psychological safety and well-being of the child, based on the Divorce Act’s ‘best interests of child‘. These include the following factors but are not limited to:

  • The child’s needs, such as the need for stability;

  • The nature of the child’s relationship to each spouse, sibling, grandparent and other important people in the child’s life;

  • The child’s views and preferences, dependent on their age and maturity;

  • The spouse’s willingness to support the development and maintenance of the child’s relationship and communication with the other spouse.

Judges in Alberta prefer to award shared decision-making responsibility or joint custody.

For the court to allocate full decision-making responsibility to one parent (previously termed sole custody or full custody), the other parent must be deemed unfit.

This is exceedingly difficult to prove and may require showing abuse, severe neglect, substance abuse, a history of domestic violence, or other issues where joint custody would threaten the child’s safety or security.

In situations where one party is not following a parental agreement or parenting order, a judge can issue an order to enforce. The Family Law Act imposes serious penalties for refusal to follow a parenting order. If you or the child’s other guardian impeded court-ordered parenting time:

  • Police may help to enforce a visit;
  • Make-up visits may be required;
  • A security deposit may be required, which will be forfeited if parenting time is denied in the future;
  • A $100 per day penalty may be assessed for every day of denied parenting time; and
  • The parent responsible for denying the time may go to jail.

Parental agreements and orders can be changed, but it is recommended to change via a court order and not by informal agreement, as informal changes may not be enforceable.

Looking for an experienced custody and access lawyer in Edmonton?

Call us today at (780) 429-2300 or request a free consultation. Our legal team at Chadi & Company can help you understand your options and navigate the legal process so that you can focus on the best interests of your child moving forward.

Contact Chadi & Company Today

If you need help with a parenting order, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.

These cases typically arise during one of the most challenging times your family will ever face. Having a knowledgeable and effective advocate to protect your interests can help you focus on what’s most important.

At Chadi & Company, our skilled child custody lawyers understand that protecting your relationship with your child is paramount.

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