Parenting ArrangementAssisting with parenting arrangements for your child or children

Parenting Arrangement

For the majority of parents going through separation or divorce their primary focus, and often the greatest source of anxiety, are the parenting arrangements for the child or children.


Our legal team has a combined 51 years of experience advocating for and negotiating parenting arrangements. We understand how important these matters are and will be in your corner every step of the way. Often you will be living with these agreements and orders for years so the little details matter. We will also know that these issues are emotional so we do our best to give objective advice so you can make informed decisions.

The phrase “Parenting Arrangements” is a general descriptor. It includes guardianship, parenting time, and parenting responsibilities. The only thing the court will consider when making these orders is the best interest of the children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is parenting time?

This is a parent’s time with their children.

What are parenting responsibilities?

These refer to the ability to access the child’s information and make decisions for the child. For example, where the children go to school is an exercise in parenting responsibilities. If the parties disagree about decisions relating to the child, an order for parenting responsibilities will either give one parent the authority to make decisions or a practical framework how decisions can be made jointly.

What is guardianship?

Guardianship is a bundle of rights  made up of parenting time and parenting responsibilities.

Who is a guardian?
  1. Parents are typically guardians of their children. If a parent has lived with or regularly cared for a child they are a guardian of that child. If a parent hasn’t lived with or regularly cared for the child they can also become a guardian through agreement with the other guardian.
Could I get an order removing my former partner as guardian of our children?

The courts remove guardianship only in the rarest of cases. If a parent is a bad parent the court will often restrict that parent’s parenting time and parenting responsibilities. Termination of guardianship should be a final recourse only and then only where no other means of protecting the best interests of the children (particularly, by reallocation of parenting responsibilities) is available.

J.W.K. v. E.K., 2014 BCSC 1635

What does the court consider when making orders about parenting arrangements?

The only consideration when making decisions with respect to children is the best interest of the children.

What is custody?

Custody is a term no longer used. It comes from  the old Divorce Act and Family Relations Act. Primary Custody used to refer to a parent with the majority of parenting time and responsibilities. Joint Custody used to refer to a situation where parents shared parenting time and responsibilities.

Can I get sole Custody?

No. Custody is no longer the term used in BC family courts. Now this question can be split into two parts: can I have sole parenting time, and can I terminate the other parent’s guardianship? The only consideration for both of these questions is the best interest of the children. It is common for one parent to have more parenting time than the other but sole parenting time is rare. The court will use every option at its disposal to avoid completely removing a parent’s parenting time.

My former partner told me they wanted to move with our child, what can I do?
    1. The first question is, is the move considered a relocation? Relocation is a move that will have a substantial impact on parenting time. Any move will have some impact.
    2. If your spouse is moving from downtown Vancouver to Surrey, that is generally not relocation. It is an unfortunate fact of divorce that one household becomes two and the cost of living for all parties increases. Sometimes parties have to move following separation.
    3. If your spouse is moving from Vancouver to Kelowna, that is generally relocation. You should seek legal advice immediately. Your former partner is typically required to give you notice. Once notice is given you have a specific amount of time to apply to court to stop the move. If you do not respond in time they may be entitled to move.
My Former Partner won’t let me see our child. How long will it take for the courts to give me access?

Far too long. It depends on a number of factors: if you have an ongoing case or not, if the case is in Provincial or Supreme Court; whether or not there is an order in place;  if your former partner has a lawyer and where your spouse and child are.  Each case is different, and each case will take a different amount of time.

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