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Parenting After Separation In Alberta: What To Expect

Parenting After Separation In Alberta: What To Expect

Divorce can be difficult without children – add children to the mix and a divorce becomes much more complicated. While children may not need to know the reasons for the divorce, both spouses need to be extra careful in explaining to the children that none of this is their fault.

Navigating the legal system, co-parenting, spousal and child support, among the emotional and mental challenges is overwhelming and can impact children in significant ways. Working with an experienced divorce and separation lawyer in Calgary will help you understand your rights, navigate the complex legal process, and what to expect with parenting after separation.

Once the divorce is finalized and all of the formalities are done, life will continue for both parties and for the children of the divorce. Here is some information on the mandatory steps for filing for divorce in Calgary if you have children.

The PAS Course

If you and your spouse have filed for divorce and you have children under the age of 16, you are required to take Alberta’s Parenting After Separation (PAS) course. This is course is a mandatory part of the divorce proceedings. It is a one-day course (6 hours) that is designed to help parents understand each of the roles they are responsible for after the divorce.

The course examines in detail:

  • The separation and divorce process.
  • The effects that these proceedings will have on children.
  • Various techniques for communication between the two divorcing parties.
  • Legal information that may affect either party or the children.
  • Problem-solving strategies each parent can apply in a variety of settings and circumstances.

This course teaches parents about the importance of working together in order to meet the children’s social, educational, health and most importantly their emotional needs. The parenting after separation course encourages both parties to attend mediation meetings and to consider dispute resolution options, such as parenting plans and relationship building.
There is no cost to either parent for any of the seminars, nor is there any cost attached to the mandatory parenting after separation course.

The PASHC Course

If very little headway has been made or either party is still not satisfied with the information that has been passed on in the PAS course, a further seminar is offered that looks at high-conflict situations.

The Parenting After Separation For High Conflict Families (PASHC) course focuses on how to get each parent to emotionally disengage from each other and how to identify and renegotiate their boundaries.

During this course, parents are encouraged to:

  • Develop a parenting plan that will reduce conflict between each parent.
  • Help minimize the contact each parent will have with the other.

Again, there is no cost attached to this course. Divorces that involve children can be very complicated and difficult for not only each party, but also for the children involved. The parenting after separation courses are specifically designed to help ease some of the stress and frustration during this difficult period.

Tips For Parenting After Separation

Parenting during a separation and after a divorce is difficult, but if you and the co-parent can work together for the best interest of the children, it can be less stressful for all parties involved. To successfully co-parent:

  1. Focus on the children’s well-being – First and foremost, discussions with the co-parent should be focused on what the children need. If this is a high-conflict situation, contact should be limited to pickups and drop-offs to avoid arguments.
  2. Separate your differences as a couple from parenting – While your ex may have been a terrible spouse, they may very well be a great parent. Separate your emotions about the divorce and any hard feelings about your ex so your child can continue having a relationship with the other parent.
  3. Avoid arguing in front of children – Arguing with your ex in front of children can stress them out and create trauma. Regardless of how you feel in the moment, refrain from fighting and discuss the situation when the children are not around to hear. Arguing in front of children risks a visit from Children’s Welfare Services and the courts do not view this situation favourably.
  4. Handle the situation with maturity – Remember, you and your ex are the adults in this situation and children are influenced by the behaviours you model. Avoid bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children, remain amicable, and keep a child-focused approach.

If you are considering or going through a divorce with children, contact us and we would be happy to offer you our professional advice.