Newfoundland and Labrador Custody and Access Schedules

How do I make my child custody and access schedule?

In Newfoundland and Labrador, you can create your own custody and access schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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How can I make sure I am making my access schedule correctly?

If you want to ensure you are making your schedule properly, you must adhere to the rules and guidelines for custody and access in Newfoundland.

A major concern of Newfoundland and Labrador in custody cases is the well-being of the child. A schedule is more likely to be approved by the court if you make the schedule in accordance with your child's best interests.

Setting up the right custody and access schedule is an important part of a Newfoundland custody agreement and parenting plan.

The custody and access schedule is the plan that separated and divorced parents follow regarding the time sharing of their children.

The schedule can be very specific, with each parent's time blocked out by day and time, or the schedule can be more flexible, with the parents consulting each other every week or month to decide on the custody and access time.

The type of schedule you set up depends very much on your circumstances and what will work for your child.

What Newfoundland and Labrador laws will help me make my schedule?

Under the Canadian Divorce Act parents are responsible for setting up parenting arrangements for their children after they divorce or separate. Part of these arrangements is a custody and access schedule that shows when the child will be with each parent.

Here are some general rules in the Divorce Act that you need to know for your schedule:

  • Your child needs to be able to maintain a relationship with both parents after a divorce or separation. Therefore, both parents should have input in the custody and access schedule.
  • Your custody schedule should be made so that it is in the best interest of the child.
  • The parenting arrangements and parenting time schedule can change over time as your child grows older and his/her needs change.
  • There are a variety of parenting arrangements that are possible under the current law and parents can decide how much time they will each have with the child based on their situation and what is best for the child.
  • Parents are encouraged to come up with a schedule that allows the child to have significant and frequent contact with both parents.

What are the various types of custody in Newfoundland and Labrador?

In Newfoundland, you have the choice between the following types of custody:

  • You can have a shared custody arrangement where the child spends at least 40% of the time with each parent and both parents make major decisions for the child.
  • You can have a sole custody arrangement where the child lives with one parent and the other parent has access, or visitation rights.
  • If you have more than one child, you can have a split custody arrangement where one parent has the custody of some of the children and the other parent has custody over the other children.

You must decide what type of custody arrangements you want to have for your child and create your schedule accordingly.

What should I include in a specified custody and access schedule?

In Newfoundland and Labrador, you are allowed to create a specified schedule that is very detailed and shows the exact times that each of you will have the child.

To make a specified schedule, you can do the following:

  • Create an everyday or residential schedule that shows where the child lives during the week and on weekends.
  • If you have a sole custody schedule, come up with a recurring access schedule by marking in the visitation for a month and repeating it through the year.
  • Write out a list of national, school, and religious holidays that you want in your schedule. Then go through and mark which parent the child will be with during the holiday.
  • Include any special events in your schedule, like birthdays, extracurricular events, or anything else that might change the parenting time schedule.

You may also want to come up with some rules and provisions for how you and the other parent will make the schedule work.

Some common provisions to include with your schedule include coming up with the way you'll handle transportation for access, having a method for making changes to the schedule, creating rules about traveling with the children, etc.

You are free to include any stipulations that you and the other parent are able to agree upon.

How do I make a flexible access schedule in Newfoundland and Labrador?

If you want a more flexible schedule where you and the other parent decide on reasonable access every week or month, then you can simply come up with some terms about how you'll handle custody and access.

You'll want to create a system of communication for how you'll set up access and you'll also want to decide where your child will be for holidays and other special events.

How do I make my Newfoundland and Labrador access schedule official?

To make your schedule official in Newfoundland, you have to have your schedule approved by the court.

If you are able to work with the other parent, you can submit your schedule together and the court will accept it.

If you and the other parent are not able to agree on a schedule, you can appeal to the court and a judge will determine the custody arrangements.

Once a judge makes a custody and access order, your schedule becomes a legal document that you must follow, so it is very important to try to make the best schedule possible and make every effort to work with the other parent to do so.

The top ten cities in Newfoundland and Labrador (by population, Statistics Canada) are: St. John's, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, Cornder Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, Paradise, Gander, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador City, Stephenville.

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