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Parenting Decisions & Time Management

Parenting children while navigating a divorce is one of the most sensitive challenges you’ll face. At Q.E.D. Law, we’ll help you handle these issues with the utmost care. We’re here to facilitate the best plan for you and your children. We can advocate for you in mediation or in court to come to an agreement on parenting time and parenting decision-making. 

Parenting Decisions & Time Management

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Child Protection

If you require more assistance to navigate external factors that are affecting your parenting, there are resources available to help. To ensure the welfare of children, Child Protective Services or the courts may urge counselling, addiction treatment, parenting classes, or other programs. Voluntary agreements can also be established outside of court. Q.E.D. Law has extensive experience working with families to ensure the best outcomes for children. 

Courts Seek Maximum Protection For Child

It can be stressful to face changes in your family situation. You’re likely worried about the impact they’ll have on your children. The courts will focus on the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of any children involved in the dissolution of a marriage, rather than just "custody."

This means that your children’s well-being will take precedence in any divorce proceedings. When deciding on a childcare plan, your history will come into play, and consideration may be given to topics like culture, language, religion, or spiritual circumstances. Children’s physical, psychological, and emotional safety is paramount in decision-making.

Understanding Parenting Arrangements

Child care agreements can be complicated. It's important to be informed about what each decision constitutes before you and your spouse begin the process. There are several ways that parenting decisions can be approached.

  • Sole Decision-Making: In this case, one party makes decisions regarding the children without consulting the other. This type of arrangement means that one party would have total control over child-related decision-making. 
  • Split Parenting Time: A court may decide to split the children's residence between parties differently when there are two or more children involved. One child may spend more time with one parent than the other parent.
  • Joint Decision-Making: When both parties remain amicable, it’s possible to participate equally in decision-making. In this scenario, you and your spouse would collaborate when making decisions about your children’s health, education, and activities. 
  • Parenting Time: This is a defined agreement on the amount of time each parent spends with each child. This includes times when your child is under your care but not physically with you. For example, if they are attending school, visiting friends, or doing an extracurricular activity, it may still be included in your parenting time.
  • Shared Parenting Time: Both parties have equal decision-making authority in this case. The children may have two residences and move back and forth. There’s flexibility in what works for your family, but a common arrangement is to alternate week-on/week-off.
  • Limited Parenting Time: In rare cases, limited or no interaction with a child will be granted if a parent is deemed harmful. This can happen if it is believed a parent may cause harm to a child or not return them to their appropriate caregiver.

Parenting time and decision-making can both be determined either in or out of court. You and your spouse can discuss what would be best for you and your children and may involve the help of a mediator to reach a mutually acceptable decision. If the case goes to trial, the court will choose the circumstances in which it is believed the children will be safest and have the most stable upbringing. A decision on how your children will be cared for must be reached before your divorce can be finalized. 

Useful Definitions:

Sole Custody

One party makes decisions regarding the child without consulting the other.

Joint Custody

Parties remain amicable. Both parents equally participate in decision making.

Shared Custody

Parties remain amicable. Equal decision making. Child may have two residences and move back and forth.

Split Custody

This is a court decision to split up the children from eachother. For example, one child may go with one parent and another child may go with the other.


This can be by agreement (i.e. mediation) or can be defined as a set amount of time that one of the parents is entitled to spend with the child and may be supervised.

No Access

In rare cases the court may find that interaction with the non-custodial parent is harmful to the child.

Tough, Honest, Recommended

Q.E.D. Law – For Alberta Families