New Brunswick Custody and Access Schedules
You can create your own custody and access 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.
In New Brunswick, custody means having care and control of a child, including making major decisions for the child.
When parents divorce or separate, they need to figure out how to handle custody by making a plan for how they will continue to care for and provide for their children when they are no longer together.
An important part of the custody plan is a schedule that shows when the child will spend time with each parent. This schedule is commonly called a custody and access schedule, or a parenting time schedule.
As you create a schedule that allocates the child's time with each parent, you want to be sure to follow the guidelines and rules of New Brunswick. Here is some information to help you do that.
The Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick has published some information about family law and custody and access that is very helpful for parents involved in a custody situation.
For parents who are making a custody schedule, this booklet has some helpful advice for figuring out custody and access and having your schedule accepted by the court. The information on this page is from their booklet.
It is always better to have things in writing, no matter how well you think you may be able to get along, than to make a verbal agreement.
After a divorce or separation, you must make decisions about custody and access and you want these decisions to be recognized and accepted by the court.
If you make a custody and access schedule or plan and the court accepts it, then you have help enforcing the plan if necessary.
When parents have a spoken agreement or just handle things as they come up, they may run into problems later and the court may not be able to help.
Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to cooperate and make a schedule that everyone supports. In these situations, you simply submit your schedule and custody plan to the court and it is accepted.
When you have disagreements or conflicts over their schedule, you can seek out mediation or other counseling services to help you.
If mediation isn't a possibility or it doesn't work, you can appeal to the court and a judge will determine the custody and access schedule. Usually, both of you will have a chance to present a proposed schedule to the judge, and the judge will decide what is best for the child.
Your custody and access schedule must focus on what is best for your child and fulfill the needs of your child. Some factors that the court will consider, that you should also consider when making your schedule, are:
- The mental, emotional, and physical health needs of the child
- The effect a disruption would have on the child
- The love, affection, and ties between the child and the parent
- The plans each parent has to care for the child
- The stability of each parent's home
- The child's culture or religion
- The views and preferences of the child (depending on the age and maturity of the child)
As you can see, these factors could influence how you decide your custody and access arrangements. You should also think about all of the aspects of your child's life and create your schedule so that your child can continue to be involved in activities he/she enjoys and spend time with friends and family.
In New Brunswick, you can have a sole, joint, or split custody arrangement.
- In a sole custody arrangement, the child spends at least 60% of the time living with one parent and that parent has all authority to make decisions for the child.
- In a joint custody arrangement, both parents are involved in raising the child, and the child spends time living with both parents (if each parent has at least 40% of the time with the child, then the parents have joint physical custody or shared custody).
- In a split custody arrangement, (these are less common), each parent has sole custody of one or more of the children.
A parent who does not have custody of the children is given access, or visitation rights.
Generally, the court views it in the best interest of the child to have maximum time with both parents. This means that regardless of the type of custody arrangements you have, you need to make a custody and access schedule that gives both parents significant time with the children.
Most custody and access schedules contain the following:
- A residential schedule that shows which parent has the child during the week and on the weekends
- A holiday schedule that shows which parent has the child during holidays and other special occasions
- A special events schedule that shows which parent has the child during school breaks, vacations, birthdays, and other special events
- Rules and provisions about how to implement the schedule and make it work (some common rules include deciding about transportation, having a process for making changes to the schedule, having a process for giving the other parent information when traveling with the children, etc.)
If you include all of the above information and follow the New Brunswick guidelines, you will be in a good position to have the court accept your schedule and custody plan.
If you also focus your schedule on the needs of your child and try to create a plan that works for everyone involved, you will have a successful custody and access schedule that everyone can enjoy.
The top ten cities in New Brunswick (by population, Statistics Canada) are: Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, Dieppe, Miramichi, Riverview, Edmundston, Quispamsis, Bathurst, Rothesay.