Under Alberta law both parents will usually share guardianship, or legal custody, of their children. Physical custody will be split between the parent who has primary care and control of the child and the parent who has access.
Each parent has the right to make day-to-day decisions for the child when the child is in their care. Yet the primary custodian will have the most time with the child. The “access” parent will usually have some sort of “visitation” with the child.
Usually Alberta courts want to make sure that parents get as close to 50/50 time with the child as possible, unless there is some sort of safety reason why they shouldn’t. Yet that doesn’t mean that being the parent with access is easy. The custodian with primary care and control can sometimes do a great deal to hamper the parent-child relationship.
When that happens, our child custody lawyers are here to help.
Can a custodial parent stop visitation?
Access agreements are enshrined in the divorce decree and enforced by court orders. A parent cannot unilaterally decide whether visitation ends.
Some parents try to do this when the access parent isn’t paying child support. Yet child support and visitation are two separate issues. One parent cannot withhold visitation from the other parent.
If your ex is doing this, your lawyers can help you address this with the court so that your spouse is held accountable.
Keep in mind that some access agreements are left somewhat vague to give the parents some flexibility. Your order may say only that you have the right to “reasonable and liberal access.” You and your ex can easily develop different ideas of what that means. We’d usually recommend setting a schedule with provisions for changing or altering that schedule at need, instead.
What is supervised visitation?
Supervised visitation happens only when the judge feels one parent may be a danger to the other if left to their own devices. For example, supervised visitation may be ordered when the access parent has an alcohol or drug problem.
In this case, a professional third party will accompany the child and the parent when visitation happens. Both parents will be responsible for paying a portion of the fees.
Do grandparents have rights in Alberta?
Grandparents aren’t necessarily in line for guardianship when both parents are around, but that doesn’t mean either parent can necessarily cut off contact from the grandchildren.
Grandparents or others who have a stake in the child’s life may apply for “contact.” Contact means they may spend time with the child in person, by telephone, or via the Internet.
The contact process is not straightforward. If you’re attempting to secure contact with a child then you may need legal help.
Need help now?
Call (587) 689-3333 to schedule an appointment with one of our top-notch divorce lawyers.