In most custody arrangements, the child lives primarily with one parent while the other receives “access,” also known as visitation or parenting time. While some parents manage to navigate this time in a reasonably straightforward fashion, issues do arise.
Ideally, you and your co-parent will negotiate an access and visitation agreement that works for your family. The team at Merchant Law is here to help you with these negotiations, and to help you fight for as much time as possible in court if necessary. We can also help you when you need the court’s help to enforce access orders, or when you seek to modify access and visitation arrangements.
How is Parenting Time Determined in Saskatchewan?
Courts favor agreements that give parents something as close to equal time with their children as possible. That would be roughly 182 overnights per parent. Yet parents have a lot of freedom to create parenting time arrangements as they see fit so long as they are still negotiating with one another.
If the courts are left to decide they will set whatever access arrangements seem to be in the best interests of the child. Often this will be “reasonable and liberal access,” a term which is often too vague to be of much use. This can lead to disagreements and ongoing battles across the course of the child’s life.
Ideally, your parenting time agreement will lay out the exact amount of time that each parent gets, along with the suggested schedule. It should have provisions for unforeseen events. It should even outline how pick-ups, drop-offs, and travel expenses are handled.
The lawyers at Regina Family Lawyers can help you draft this specific access and visitation agreement so that everyone’s rights and responsibilities are clear.
Can a Custodial Parent Stop Visitation?
No. The primary residence parent may never unilaterally call a halt to all visitation, even if they have sole custody. They must always refer to the parenting time schedule set out in their divorce decree.
If a custodial parent feels there is some reason why ending visitation would be in the best interests of the child they would have to go before the court and present their case there. Most often they would be seeking protection orders vs. an abusive parent who may do real harm to the child even if visitation is supervised.
Can I Get Supervised Visitation Rights?
If the court has taken away all of your access rights then you may be able to get them back on a supervisory basis. You would have to show that you have addressed the problem that made you a danger to the child in the first place.
For example, if you had an alcohol or drug problem you’d have to show that you have successfully completed a rehab program and have remained sober for a substantial amount of time.
The court would then assign a third party to supervise your visits. If you continue to make positive changes you would then be able to eventually petition for regular access time. You will need a lawyer’s help if this describes your situation.