When parents are going through a separation or divorce, some of the most difficult decisions that need to be made are those concerning the children. Who will the children live with? Who will have decision-making authority?
At Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, our focus is exclusively on family law, so we are experienced in answering these and other difficult questions regarding the impact of separation and divorce on children. We strive to help clients arrive at parenting arrangements that will place the children’s best interests first.
Joint Decision Making Responsibility and Parenting Time in Ontario
Joint decision making responsibility in Ontario, signifies a shared parental arrangement where both parents maintain equal decision-making authority concerning their child. Key aspects of the child’s life, such as health, education, and general welfare, require consensus between both parents. This form of decision making responsibility aims to promote the child’s best interests by ensuring continued involvement from both parents.
Legal Aspects of Parenting Time & Decisions
Where appropriate, parents should share in the parenting decisions related to their children, as well as the time spent with their children.
In some circumstances, parents wish to maintain equally shared parenting time and make decisions regarding their children jointly, but decide that it would be in the child’s best interests to have the child live primarily with one parent. In these situations, the parent with whom the child does not reside most of the time can foster their relationship with the child through parenting time.
Where parents can agree on how to spend time with their child or children, this arrangement can be as detailed or as open-ended as the parties agree. For example, parents may wish to outline which holidays are spent with whom in advance. This can prevent any further dispute. Where parents cannot agree on the major decisions involving their children or on how the child’s time should be divided, a court can make an order to provide the parties with a solution.
What Determines Parenting Time in Ontario?
In Ontario, parenting time is determined based on the best interests of the child and the family’s specific needs. Schedules can be ‘fixed,’ specifying exact days and times for each parent, or ‘open,’ allowing for flexibility and mutual agreement between the parties. Regardless of the schedule type, the primary goal is to create an arrangement that supports the child’s well-being and maintains a healthy relationship with both parents.
How We Help With Parenting
Should you hire a lawyer? We often answer the following questions for our clients:
- Who is financially responsible for the children?
- Where will the children live?
- My spouse moved out; can they take the children?
- When will I get to see my children?
- What happens on holidays and special occasions?
Russell Collaborative Alexander Family Lawyers is dedicated to helping clients achieve the most appropriate resolution to their family law problems, both through informal discussions and through representing client’s interests in court. Our lawyers and law clerks will help you by:
- Determining your goals regarding decision-making authority & parenting time and providing you with options on how to achieve these goals
- Regularly corresponding with you to obtain updates and provide you with the status of your case
- Negotiating on your behalf with the other party or their lawyer
- Drafting an agreement to outline the terms of your parenting time arrangement, including any detailed schedules
- Where negotiations fail, completing court documents on your behalf and meeting with you to review them
- Filing your application in court and representing you at every stage of the court process
- Taking the necessary steps to have your agreement or court order enforced
We know that the breakdown of a relationship is a difficult time for all parties involved. Therefore, we strive to achieve a suitable resolution to the client’s decision-making authority and/or parenting time dispute in a friendly and efficient manner.