Parenting time, formally known as “Access”, is time spent with the children by either parent. The Court has a strong presumption that it is important for children to have as much contact with each parent as possible so long as the same is within their best interests.
This is known as the “Maximum Contact Principle”. The Supreme Court of Canada in Young v. Young, established that this principle is to be applied from a child-focused perspective involving the right of the child to “the benefits of a free and open relationship which permits the child to know the access parent as he or she is.”
Despite the foregoing, parenting time is usually a point of contention between parents after separation. Conflict usually arises around who the children will live with (primary residence) and how much time will the children spend with either parent, if any. If parents cannot agree on this, the Court may be required to make this decision.
Time spent with the children if any, may or may not be in accordance with a set schedule or it can be described as “generous and liberal time as agreed to between the parents”. Courts have often recognized the advantage of the certainty of having a set parenting schedule in place as it provides the children with stability which is generally seen as being in their best interests.
There are different types of parenting schedules, here are the most popular two:
- Primary parenting time – this is where the children reside with one parent primarily and have visitations with the other parent on a set schedule. For example, every other weekend with one overnight visit during the “off” week.
- Shared parenting – this is when each parent would have the children in their care for at least 40% of the time. For example, “week on” “week off” or on a 4 days on and 3 days off rotation.
If the parties require judicial intervention, the overarching test is that of the best interests of the children. The Court may need third party evidence (Office of the Children’s Lawyer and Section 30 Assessments) to assist the judge in making a determination.
At Noori Law, we understand that your children are your universe. We have extensive experience in handingly all child-related issues including: child protection, Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and Section 30 assessments.
Call us now to discuss your matter.