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Our Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers assist parents in resolving disputes over how much time their children spend with each of them and how decisions for their children will be made. ‘Parenting time’ is the time a person spends with a child without the other parent or guardian. Parenting time is called “custody” under the Divorce Act which applies only to married spouses.  If you’re not a guardian, your time with the child is called ‘contact’. In today’s blog Lorne N. MacLean, QC, founder, of our team of experienced Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers explains the law on how decisions in this area are made when parents live in 2 different cities. Our top rated Calgary family lawyers office is located downtown in Bankers Hall.

Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers 403-444-5503

Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers
Lorne MacLean QC handles select difficult parenting time and high net worth family law cases in Calgary.

In a recent decision Alberta Queen’s Bench decision of PLC v. CG the mother was awarded primary residence of a 4 year old girl in Edmonton, although the child had spent almost 2 years in BC with her father. The court ordered that the father would have 2 weeks each month with his daughter in BC or Alberta as he wished. A key factor was that the father worked 2 weeks on/off in Fort McMurray. The court reviewed 2 leading cases on child mobility and how parenting time and contact should be decided.

The Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers Rules When Parents Live Far Apart

The 2018 decision of PLC v CG provides a good summary of the rules lawyers and judges must follow to properly decide a Calgary parenting time cases:

[10]           The primary issue is whether it is in the best interests of the child that the child be relocated from Edmonton, Alberta to Prince George, British Columbia, where she currently resides with the father.

[11]           The father referred to the leading case on mobility of Gordon v Goetz, <1996 CanLII 191 (SCC), 1996 2 SCR 27. He submits that if one applies the principles from that case, they clearly favor permitting the child to relocate permanently with the father to British Columbia.

The Law

[33]           The primary issue in this case is mobility. That is, whether the child should be permitted to stay in Prince George, British Columbia with the father or lives in Edmonton with the mother.

[34]           The Supreme Court of Canada case of Gordon v Goertz1996 CanLII 191 (SCC), 1996 2 SCR 27, is the leading decision on the issue of mobility. McLachlin, J. summarized the law as follows at paras 49 and 50:

49        The law can be summarized as follows:

1.         The parent applying for a change in the custody or access order must meet the threshold requirement of demonstrating a material change in the circumstances affecting the child.

2.         If the threshold is met, the judge on the application must embark on a fresh inquiry into what is in the best interests of the child, having regard to all the relevant circumstances relating to the child’s needs and the ability of the respective parents to satisfy them.

3.         This inquiry is based on the findings of the judge who made the previous order and evidence of the new circumstances.

4.         The inquiry does not begin with a legal presumption in favour of the custodial parent, although the custodial parent’s views are entitled to great respect.

5.         Each case turns on its own unique circumstances. The only issue is the best interest of the child in the particular circumstances of the case.

6.         The focus is on the best interests of the child, not the interests and rights of the parents.

7.         More particularly the judge should consider, inter alia:

(a)        the existing custody arrangement and relationship between the child and the custodial parent;

(b)        the existing access arrangement and the relationship between the child and the access parent;

(c)        the desirability of maximizing contact between the child and both parents;

(d)        the views of the child;

(e)        the custodial parent’s reason for moving, only in the exceptional case where it is relevant to that parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child;

(f)         disruption to the child of a change in custody;

(g)        disruption to the child consequent on removal from family, schools, and the community he or she has come to know.

50        In the end, the importance of the child remaining with the parent to whose custody it has become accustomed in the new location must be weighed against the continuance of full contact with the child’s access parent, its extended family and its community. The ultimate question in every case is this: what is in the best interests of the child in all the circumstances, old as well as new?

Recent Alberta Court Of Appeal Test Guides Calgary Child Parenting Time Contact Lawyers

A recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision updates the approach in child mobility cases involving decisions on Calgary parenting time and Calgary child contact disputes. If you have a problem exercising Calgary Parenting Time here is some great free information.

[35]           More recently the Alberta Court of Appeal in the case of MMG v Jazzclass=”reflex3-alt”>2017 ABCA 209 (CanLII), summarized the approach to be taken in mobility cases :

22        In this case, although both parties share parenting responsibilities, the approach commended in Gordon remains apt. In Spencer, this Court wrote, at paras 15 and 19:

15        Section 17(5) of the Divorce Act requires the court to take into consideration the best interests of the child, as determined by reference to that change. In other words, the analysis of best interests must consider the impact of this change on the children. Gordon made clear that a child-centred analysis properly includes consideration of the circumstances as they existed prior to the change, but does not stand for the proposition that children’s best interests are to be determined by weighing the status quo against the change. Were that so, the status quo would almost always tip the scales.…

19        Once a material change has been found, Gordon directs the judge to be mindful of the status quo prior to the move, but the inquiry cannot stop there. The relevant inquiry is to the children’s best interests, evaluated in the new circumstances as found (here, the effect on the children of the mother’s relocation with her new husband and child to Victoria if they are allowed to move) compared to its effect on them if they are not allowed to move. The children’s best interests must be assessed in the new circumstances, its impact on them if they stay or if they go: see Christmas v. Christmas, 2005 ABCA 213 (CanLII).

Contact Our Senior Calgary Parenting Time Contact Lawyers Now.

Calgary Parenting Time Contact Lawyers are best involved early on in a child parenting time, child contact or child custody dispute to make sure a strategy for negotiations is formulated early. Contact Peter Graburn our experienced Calgary associate that leads our Calgary Parenting Time Contact Lawyers there to develop a cogent plan for success for your child.