Under the Family Law Act, guardians are the people, usually parents, who have parental responsibilities and parenting time with a child. Parenting Arrangements are the plans made about how parental responsibilities and parenting time are to be shared.
Usually if you are a parent you are a guardian. To find out if you are a guardian, check out the Guardianship Flow Chart.
Being a Guardian means you have parenting time and parenting responsibilities.
The Divorce Act is only for those that are, or were married. The Family Law Act can be used by any Parent.
Guardian ----> Parenting Responsibilities + Parenting Time
Parenting time is the time a guardian spends with the child. During parenting time, a guardian is responsible for the care and supervision of the child, and makes day-to-day decisions about the child.
Parenting Responsibilities include:
If you and your former spouse can reach agreement on parenting time and parenting arrangements, you will avoid having to go to court to settle these issues.
“Contact” is the word used to describe the time a parent or other person who is not a guardian spends with a child.
The Divorce Act uses different words to describe care and time with children: custody and access. Under the Divorce Act, the parent who has custody lives with the child at least some of the time and has the rights and responsibilities to care for and make decisions about the upbringing of their child. Access is a term used in the Divorce Act to describe the time that a parent, usually the parent who does not have custody, spends with the children.
How is custody decided?
Decisions about parenting must be based on the best interests of the children. A judge will consider the "condition, means, needs, and other circumstances of the child" and what would best protect the child's physical, psychological, and emotional safety, security, and well-being.
The different types of custody
There are different ways custody can be divided.
If you have serious concerns about the safety of your children or are concerned they will be removed from their location without your permission, you should make an interim application to get a temporary court order. To learn more about how to do this see Chapter 8.3.