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How To Determine Parenting Time During Divorce: Status Quo Model

How To Determine Parenting Time During Divorce: Status Quo Model

Determining parenting time is an extremely emotional and difficult decision. The level of difficulty increases with the level of conflict between you and your ex partner. Shared parenting is often seen as being inappropriate for parents with substantial conflict. This is because the court always considers the best interest of the child and generally says parents should able to communicate with each other about the child’s daily life if they are in a shared parenting agreement. Our team of Calgary family lawyers know what to consider when developing your parenting guidelines. Read on to learn more about how to establish a plan that works for you and your family.

What Does The Law Say About Parenting Time?

The Divorce Act provides that the Court shall take into consideration only the best interests of the child of the marriage as determined by reference to the condition, means, needs, and other circumstances of the child. It also provides that in making an order the Court shall give effect to the principle that a child of the marriage should have as much contact with each spouse as is consistent with the best interests of the child and, for that purpose, shall take into consideration the willingness of the person for whom parenting time is sought to facilitate such contact.

What Does it Mean To Keep The Status Quo?

The case law states that the law will favor a status quo parenting scheme where the children are thriving and it is unclear as to whether or not a change would greatly benefit the children. Further, the Court needs compelling reasons to make changes to an existing parenting arrangement. The Court will also be less likely to order a change where it is not an emergency or it is not necessarily in the best interests of the children when it’s an interim application, as opposed to a trial.

Example of Case Law Dealing with Status Quo Parenting time

In Vandenberg v. Vandenberg, the wife was the primary parent when the parties first separated. Sometime after the separation, the wife remarried a man who lived in a different city, so she entered into a consent order that allowed her to have access to the children but the husband was given primary parenting of the children. This arrangement went on for three years. The wife then brought an application to have 2 of the 3 children live with her and her husband. The husband argued that the children are currently thriving and there’s no reason to change their current situation. The Court stated “when a court is asked to change the primary residency of the children of a marriage, it approaches the task seriously. There must be compelling reasons to make the change. The compelling reasons must show that it is in the best interests of the children to make the change. The benefit to be obtained must be self evident – only then should the Court act.” The Court ultimately found that it was inappropriate to move the children’s primary residence as it was not clearly evident that it would be in the best interests of the children to move.


Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.