Saskatchewan Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Saskatchewan and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Saskatchewan courts.
In Saskatchewan, you can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
One of the best ways to prepare for creating a parenting plan in the Province of Saskatchewan is to become familiar with the laws governing child custody and access.
These laws can be found in Chapter C-8.2 of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1997, which is known as the Children's Law Act, 1997. The Children's Law Act contains the laws pertaining to child custody, access, and guardianship.
The Act contains clear information regarding the manner in which child custody cases are decided upon, definitions for the terms used by the court and in court documents, and provides parents the means to submit an agreement (parenting plan) to the court regarding the parenting arrangements of their child.
When you use the law as a tool as you create your Saskatchewan parenting plan, you may improve the chances of a successful outcome in your case.
When ruling on an order for custody in the Province of Saskatchewan, the court shall only consider the best interest of the child and those factors that affect the child's well-being, health, and welfare.
These factors include, but are not limited to (1997, c.C-8.2, s.8):
- The quality of the relationship the child has with each person seeking custody of the child.
- The child's personality, character, and emotional needs.
- The child's social, economic, physical, and psychological needs.
- The capacity of the person seeking custody to act as the child's legal custodian or guardian.
- The quality of the proposed home environment for the child.
- The future plans the person seeking custody has for the child.
- The preference of the child as to custody as long as the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to express an educated opinion.
- The court shall not consider any past conduct of a person seeking custody unless that conduct had an effect on the child or the conduct is related to the person's ability to act as a parent.
You should keep these factors in mind as you develop your parenting plan.
Though statistics may show that it is more common for a mother to get custody in Saskatchewan, it is not gender but other circumstances that account for this trend. Mothers are more traditionally tasked as the child's primary caretaker and there are similar factors that contribute to this statistic.
In Saskatchewan, the court shall not favor one parent over the other based on gender. Both parents are equally entitled to custody of their child, and no preference shall be given to a parent based on their status as "mother" or "father" (1997, c.C-8.2, s.8.c).
In fact, prior to bringing a custody matter before the court, both parents are considered to be joint legal guardians of their child, with equal rights, powers, and duties, unless and until a court has designated otherwise (1997, c.C-8.2, s.3).
If the parents did not live together after the birth of the child, the parent with whom the child resides is considered to be the child's sole legal guardian, until a court mandates to the contrary.
Since both parents are considered to be equally important in their child's life, both are entitled to custody of their child. The parenting plan is just a way of sorting out the all the details.
The law allows parents to create a parenting plan and submit their agreement to the court. The parents of the child may enter into an agreement that may (1997, c.C-8.2, s.3.):
- Define the custodial status of each of the parents.
- Specify the authority, rights, and responsibilities of each parent, with respect to the child. Decision-making authority as to the child's linguistics, cultural upbringing, education, religion, medical care, and any other important aspects of the child's life may be assigned.
- Include provisions and a schedule for access with the child, with either or both parents or another person (such as a sibling, step-parent, or grandparent). The access schedule should specify when the child will spend time with each parent on a regular basis, as well as include additional specifications for holidays, special occasions, and vacation time.
- Authorize one of the parents to appoint another person to act as a guardian of the property of the child.
- Provide for the custody of the child after the death of either parent. Upon the death of a parent, the other parent may become the sole custodian, or another person can be appointed to become the child's guardian, without altering the custodial duties and access rights of the remaining parent.
As you make your custody agreement, you may include any other stipulations that you and the other parent are able to agree on. Some common provisions are:
- Methods for dispute resolution
- Methods for amending the parenting plan
- Provisions for the transportation of the child between exchanges
- Stipulations for removing the child from the province or the country
You may include anything you feel is relevant.
The parenting plan will serve as the rules for raising your child until he or she reaches adulthood. The details you are able to agree upon and include now will help avoid parental conflict in the future.
If you are unable to agree upon any part of the parenting plan, the court will require both of you to attend mediation (1997, c.C-8.2, s.10; 2006, c.31, s.3).
If you do not reach an agreement after attending mediation, the decisions affecting the custody and access of your child will be made by the court. The court will review the factors affecting your child's best interests and rule accordingly.
It is important to make every effort to reach an agreement in order to maintain control of the parenting arrangements and the outcome of your child custody case.
The top ten cities in Saskatchewan (by population, Statistics Canada) are: Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current, North Battleford, Estevan, Weyburn, Lloydminster.