Understanding access to your child

If you’re going through your first divorce in British Columbia, you may come across all manner of legal terms that you’ve never had to deal with before. One of the most important ones, if you have children, is access.

When the court determines where the children will live — or you and your spouse reach an agreement about it — then the other parent is still going to want to see the children. This ability to see them and spend time with them is known legally as access. Different parents have different levels of access to their children.

This really only needs to be as strict as you and your spouse want it to be, in most cases. For example, some couples settle on an agreement for generous access, which simply means there are not going to be that many restrictions. If the other parent wants to pick the children up at almost any time, as long as it’s okay with the parent with whom they live, there is a lot of freedom. In many ways, this is as close to a traditional relationship with the children as possible.

Other couples may value having more structure. They can stipulate that the parent only has access during certain hours of the day. They can agree to have the children switch homes every other weekend. Things like this still give both parents access, but they have to follow the rules and work within their confines.

If you’re trying to draft an access agreement or if you feel that your rights to access have been violated in some way, it’s important to know about all of your options.

Source: Family Law in British Columbia, “Access,” accessed May 7, 2015

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