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Lorne MacLean, QC

Child Parenting final decision making powers are critical in ensuring a child is raised properly. Constant power struggles or disputes over large and small decisions relating to your child after separation are unhealthy for both the warring parents and the child themselves. In today’s blog, MacLean Law’s Fraser MacLean explains the options on parental responsibilities and how they can be exercised by one or both guardians.

The default position is that both guardians can equally exercise parenting responsibilities but the Courts can order someone be in charge of all or part of the parenting responsibilities or give one parent the final say if there is a dispute. Often the final say provision will allow the other parent to argue in Court the final decision is contrary to the child’s best interests. These applications will often proceed on the basis of deference being given to the person awarded final decision making. In short, the decision will need to be demonstrably contrary to the child’s best interests for the final decision to be overturned by a judge.

Child Custody and parenting decision disputes require the help of experienced family lawyers with a proven track record.

Child Parenting Final Decision Making Call 1 877 602 9900

Child Parenting Final Decision Making powers arise pursuant to section 40 of the Family Law Act which states:

  1.  Only a guardian may have parental responsibilities and parenting time with respect to a child.
  2. Unless an agreement or order allocates parental responsibilities differently, each child’s guardian may exercise all parental responsibilities with respect to the child in consultation with the child’s other guardians, unless consultation would be unreasonable or inappropriate in the circumstances.
  3. Parental responsibilities may be allocated under an agreement or order such that they may be exercised by:
(a) one or more guardians only, or
(b) each guardian acting separately or all guardians acting together.

Child Parenting Final Decision Making The Law Call 1 877 602 9900

The court may order that one parent has exclusive rights over parenting arrangements and sole control over the parenting responsibilities. The court can also give one parent Child Parenting Final Decision Making powers. This presumes there is a proper discussion on the disputed decision before final say powers are exercised. Another option is to appoint a parenting coordinator to make the disputed decisi0n or have the court break the deadlock. The second two options obviously cost more than giving one parent the final say.

  1. The court may order that one parent has exclusive rights over parenting arrangements and sole control over the parenting responsibilities described in Family Law Act section 41. S. (J.D.) v. P. (D.Y.C.), 2014 BCSC 1577
  2. A court may order that guardians share parental responsibilities, but that one parent has the final decision if the guardians reach an impasse.R. (L..A.) v. R. (E.J.), 2014 BCSC 966, reconsideration allowed on another point 2015 BCSC 189
  3. A court may order that one parent have all parental responsibilities. M. (K.M.) v. M. (D.R.), 2014 BCSC 569, leave to appeal refused 2017 BCCA 348
  4. A court may order that some parental responsibilities be shared and others not be shared.J. (C.A.) v. J. (N.), 2014 BCSC 279; S. (M.) v. S. (G.), 2013 BCSC 1744; S. (S.J.) v. P. (Y.W.), 2017 BCSC 798; A. (B.) v. S. (L.), 2017 BCSC 1796
  5. A court may order parental responsibilities with terms similar to the Joyce and Horn models. L. (J.) v. D. (L.), 2013 BCPC 201; Van Kooten v. More, 2013 BCSC 1076; C. (J.D.) v. C. (K.L.M.F.), 2014 BCSC 2182; Henderson v. Bal, 2014 BCSC 1347

New Court Of Appeal Case Discusses Logic Of Final Say Powers Call 1 877 602 9900

Founder, Lorne MacLean, QC handles high conflict parenting time and responsibilities disputes and uses a number of tools to help both parents and children move forward successfully. MacLean was successful for his client in Canada’s leading child custody case on the principle of maximum contact in the Supreme Couret of Canada decision in Young v. Young. 

Child Parenting Final Decision Making was approved of in the 2019 BC Appeal Court decision that dismissed a mother’s appeal that gave the father of K.P.B v K.B.:

[20]         With respect to the children, the judge found there was conflicting evidence regarding the violence in the parties’ relationship, with each blaming the other. The judge reviewed the findings of Mr. Colby, a registered psychologist, who was tasked by the court to prepare a s. 211 FLA report. Mr. Colby noted improvement on the part of each party in parenting the children following counselling to address those issues. He recommended that the parties continue to co-parent the children and seek therapeutic engagement and support.

[21]         The judge accepted Mr. Colby’s findings and ordered that the parties share parenting time equally on a three-day rotation. She also granted the husband final decision-making authority in the event the parties could not agree on a parenting decision, while granting the wife the right pursuant to s. 49 of the FLA to apply to the court for directions respecting a final parenting decision by the husband. The wife appeals only this latter aspect of the parenting arrangement ordered by the judge.

[22]         A provision granting one parent final decision-making authority is not uncommon, particularly in high conflict relationships. It provides a mechanism whereby the parties do not have to apply to the court to determine every parenting issue on which they may disagree. The purpose of the provision is to minimize the negative consequences of ongoing litigation. An alternative measure sometimes employed is the appointment of a parenting co-ordinator pursuant s. 15 of the FLA;however, that is at a cost to the parties and may not always be an affordable option.

[24]         The judge weighed all of the relevant evidence and exercised his discretion to grant the husband final decision-making authority on parenting decisions upon which the parties were unable to agree….

If you have a Child Parenting final decision-making question, click here to fill out our rapid response consultation form or call our experienced family lawyers today at 1 877 602 9900

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