Areas of Legal Practice

Decision-making and Parenting Time

When it comes to your children, carefully prepared planning is essential. 

We all know that raising children is no easy task. Parents are responsible not only for the health and well-being of their children, but also for making decisions that further their children’s best interests. When parents separate, they must determine who will make decisions for the children and how much time their children will spend in the care of each parent. 

Decision-making responsibility (formerly known as “custody”) allows you and/or the other parent to make significant decisions for your children related to their health, education, and religion, among others. As decision-making responsibility deals with significant decisions, day-to-day decisions are generally left to the parent who has care of the children at any given time. Day-to-day decisions may include decisions such as what meals to feed your children or what time their bedtime will be.  


“Parenting-time (formerly known as “access”) has to do with the amount of time that a parent will have the children in their care. Typically, parents will implement a parenting-time schedule that allows their children to spend time with each parent. Parenting-time schedules must be determined with the children’s best interests in mind. Generally speaking, the parenting-time schedule should aim to maximize the amount of time that the children will spend with each parent, as it is presumed that maximum contact furthers the children’s best interests. However, there are exceptions to this principle, such as in cases with safety or abuse concerns.  


After separation, parents can seek a Parenting Order from the court, which will determine the issues of decision-making responsibility and parenting time. Non-parents (such as grandparents) can also seek contact with a child in a Contact Order. Alternatively, the parents may wish to resolve these issues without the involvement of the courts by way of a negotiated Separation Agreement. 


Since no two families are the same, determining an appropriate decision-making arrangement and parenting-time schedule will require an analysis of the context of each family. We can work with you to learn the dynamics of your family, including the pre-separation parenting relationship, the abilities of each parent, and the needs of your children.

Looking to find out more information regarding decision-making and parenting time​? Request a consultation today to speak with us and receive professional legal advice about your matter.