Nova Scotia 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.
One of the most important things that divorcing or separating parents in Nova Scotia have to do is make parenting arrangements for the care of their children. A big part of the parenting arrangements is deciding what type of custody and access the parents want to share.
In Nova Scotia, you have the option of choosing from several types of custody and several types of access so that you can make a plan that fits your situation.
Once you've determined custody and access, you can make a custody and access schedule or parenting time schedule that shows how the parents will share time with the children.
Here are some guidelines about custody and access in Nova Scotia so that you can make a good schedule.
Your custody and access schedule is your plan for how you and the other parent will share time with the children when you are no longer living together. As you begin the process of making your schedule, you should be aware of some of the options you have for custody and access.
In Nova Scotia, you can have the following types of custody:
- Custody (or Sole Custody): In this arrangement, the child lives with one parent (the custodial or residential parent) and that parent makes the decisions about the child. The other parent (the non-custodial or non-residential parent) has access or the right to visit with the child.
- Joint Custody: The child lives with one parent and the non-residential parent has access with the child. Both parents make decisions about the child.
- Shared Custody: The child spends time living with each parent (at least 40% of the time with each parent) and the parents both make decisions about the child.
- Split Custody: In a family with more than one child, each parent has custody of one or more children.
The type of custody you choose determines the residence of the child. When the child lives with one parent, the other parent still has the right to visit with the child and spend time with them. This is called access.
The following types of access are acceptable in Nova Scotia:
- Reasonable Access: This is a flexible schedule of access and the non-residential parent and the residential parent communicate often and arrange times for visits that are appropriate and reasonable for the child. There isn't a set schedule and so the parents must frequently talk to work out access times.
- Specified Access: This is a set schedule where the non-residential parent has access at specified times and dates. Usually a recurring schedule is set up.
- Supervised Access: In cases where a child spending time spending time with a parent may be harmful or detrimental to the child, supervised access can be set up so that a parent has access with the child only when another adult is present. The court or a judge orders this type of access.
Once you've decided on the type of custody and access that is best for your child and your situation, you will need to create the custody and access schedule in a manner that coincides with what you have decided on.
Your schedule will depend on the types of custody arrangements you want. For example, if you decide that you want sole custody with reasonable access, your schedule will only be some general rules and guidelines for how you and the other parent will set up access.
If you want a shared custody arrangement, you will need to come up with a specific schedule that shows when the child is living with each parent.
Your custody and access schedule should be the document that explains how you and the other parent will share time with the children. Along with a specific schedule (for specified access), you can include rules and provisions that help you and the other parent follow the schedule and make it work.
Some common provisions that people include with their schedule include:
- A method for making changes to access and visitation times
- Information about how the parents will share holiday time with the children
- Rules about vacations and traveling with the children
- A schedule for special events (birthdays, school holidays, extra-curricular events, etc.)
- A provision about the parents attending the child's extra events
- What the parents will do when a child is sick and needs to stay home
- A method for exchanges and transportation for access
- Anything else that will help your schedule run more smoothly
The most important thing to consider when making a custody and access schedule in Nova Scotia is your child's best interest and the court bases it's decisions on what is best for your child. The court will consider all of the factors related to your child's well-being and welfare, including:
- The history of the child's care
- Which parent has acted as the child's primary caregiver
- The fitness of each of the parent's home environment
- How well the child has adjusted to his or her home, school, and community
- The moral fitness of the parents
- Any history of substance abuse or physical abuse
- The wishes of the parents as to custody
- The wishes of the child as to custody
- The needs of the child and which parent is better equipped to meet those needs
- Any other information the court finds relevant
If you think about what is best for your child as you make decisions about all of the above information, you will have a successful schedule that allows your child to quickly adjust to the new family situation.
The top ten cities in Nova Scotia (by population, Statistics Canada) are: Halifax, Cape Breton (Sydney), Truro, New Glasgow, Glace Bay, Sydney Mines, Kentville, New Waterford, Amherst, Bridgewater.