The legal term for parenting time or visitation is “access.” While one parent retains “primary care and control” of the child, the other retains the right to spend time with them. Both parents may retain the right to make legal decisions for the child, and to make day-to-day decisions while the child is with them.
In many cases, parenting time is meant to be as close to 50/50 as possible, as Manitoba recognizes that it’s almost always in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both parents. Yet that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the arrangement maybe 60/40. In some cases, parenting time may be limited altogether.
Even in the most equitable of arrangements, issues do arise. If you’re struggling to work out a co-parenting agreement, a divorce settlement where access is a major issue, or a post-divorce parenting time matter, the lawyers at Family Lawyer of Winnipeg can help.
How is parenting time determined?
When you’re divorcing with kids, your divorce agreement should include a co-parenting arrangement that lays out a schedule for access. The schedule should include information on who handles transportation, on expectations for pick-up and drop-off protocols, and methods for dealing with unforeseen events that might require a change in the schedule.
You can come up with almost any arrangement that works for your family, but a judge will have to look it over and agree that the end result is in the best interests of your child.
Once the schedule is in your divorce decree it is the sole determinant of the amount of access time the parents are entitled to.
Can a custodial parent stop visitation?
No. Your access time is enshrined in your divorce decree and backed by court order. If a parent tries to stop access then you can bring them back into court. The judge may simply order the custodial parent to stop blocking parenting time, or may issue other sanctions.
In some cases, an attempt to block a parent from access can result in a change of custody order. In extreme cases, it may even result in jail time for the parent who is failing to comply.
This is true even if you are behind on your child support, though you might face your own enforcement issues if that is the case.
Can I get supervised visitation rights?
Manitoba law assumes both parents have a right to time with their children unless they are a danger to the child. Supervised visitation is an option for parents who cannot be trusted to keep the child safe.
This will mean a third party attends and records the results of the visit. The parents will have to pay for this third party.
If you’ve been denied access in the past you may be able to apply for a modification that allows for supervised time. Be prepared to show how you’ve addressed your issues, such as going into rehab for an alcohol or drug problem, or managing a mental health problem with medication.
Why choose Family Lawyer Winnipeg?
Our lawyers are some of the toughest family law litigators in Manitoba, and are known for their strength as negotiators. You can trust us to look out for your best interests.
For a consultation, call (204) 896-7777.