British Columbia Custody and Access Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
The Family Relations Act in British Columbia contains the custody and access rules and regulations for divorced and separated parents.
Within these statutes, you can find the information you need to make a schedule that shows the parenting time that each parent has to spend with the children.
Complying with the guidelines from the Family Relations Act will help you make a schedule that not only works for your child, but that the court will also accept and make official.
This can give you peace of mind concerning your custody situation because you will have a set schedule that both parents are obligated to follow. It will also ensure your child has stability and knows when he or she is going to spend time with each of you.
One of the first things to understand from the Family Relations Act is the idea of guardianship and custody.
Basically, custody is the term that refers to the physical time that each parent has with the children and the day-to-day responsibilities that come along with physically caring for the children.
Guardianship refers to the authority that parents have to make moral, religious, and social decisions for the children.
In British Columbia, you can have the following types of custody and guardianship:
- Joint custody and joint guardianship where both parents share custody and guardianship responsibilities
- Sole custody and joint guardianship where the child lives with one parent (and the other parent has visitation or access) and both parents make decisions for the child
- Sole custody and sole guardianship where one parent cares for the child and makes the decisions concerning the child
The type of custody and guardianship arrangement that you decide on will directly impact how you set up your custody and access schedule.
If you and the other parent agree to a joint custody schedule, you will need to set up a custody schedule that allows both parents to have significant time with the children. Your child's time does not necessarily have to be divided equally between you, but it should permit your child to spend ample amounts of time with both of you.
If you think that a sole custody arrangement is the best, then you will need to set up a schedule that shows who the child will live with and the times the other parent will have access or visitation with the child. Although the time spend with the other parent may be less, it is still important for your child to have frequent and ongoing contact with each of you.
In order to decide the type of schedule to create, you must consider what is best for your child. Section 24 of Part 2 of the Family Relations Act specifies that all custody decisions must be made according to what is best for the child.
This includes the creation of a custody and access schedule that shows when the child will be with each parent.
How you make the schedule depends on a variety of factors and your child's individual needs.
Some of the factors that the law considers when thinking about what is best for a child include:
- The health and emotional well-being of the child
- Any special needs of the child for care and treatment
- The views of the child
- The love, affection, and similar ties that exist between the child and other persons such as siblings and grandparents
- The education and training for the child
- The capacity of each parent to exercise the rights and duties of custody and guardianship
You should also think about all of these factors as you set up your custody schedule.
Focusing on what will benefit your child will help you think of a time sharing arrangement that encourages your child's growth and maturity. Since this is the goal of the schedule, you will want to carefully think about any factors in your child's life that affect how the schedule is made.
A custody and access schedule is more than just a simple calendar. It should contain the following components:
- A basic, everyday schedule that shows where the child will be during the week and on the weekends
- A schedule for holidays, school breaks, vacations, and other special events
- Rules for implementing the schedule
- A process for making changes to the schedule
- A method for resolving disputes
- Rules for how transporting the child for visits will be handled
Including all of this in your schedule will make it complete and will help you avoid conflict down the road.
Following the guidelines from the British Columbia law and making a schedule that is in your child's interest is the best way to come up with a good schedule.
Whenever possible, you should try to work with the other parent to create a schedule that both of you support. The court will automatically accept a schedule that both parents agree on as long as it is in the child's best interest.
If you and the other parent are not able to agree, you should still make a fair schedule that puts your child's needs first. Submitting a proposed custody and access schedule to the court gives the court an option to choose from and will increase the chance that the court will accept your plan as part of the parenting order.
The top twenty cities in British Columbia (by population, Statistics Canada) are: Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver, Abbotsford, Langley, Coquitlam, Saanich, Kelowna, Delta, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Victoria, Prince George, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, West Vancouver.