Parenting, Guardianship & Custody

“Your child’s best interests come first in any dispute over custody, access, parenting, and guardianship. Period.”

Say our Vancouver Custody Lawyers

Our Custody Lawyers Put Your Children’s Best Interest First.

Nothing is more important to a parent than their child.  Our custody lawyers are committed to placing your child’s best interest first and helping you achieve a parenting arrangement that suits your child’s life and needs.  We understand that every family is different – we listen to your story and get to know you on a personal level because this will allow us to serve your better in court.  Our Vancouver custody  lawyers know that how issues are framed and argued can have a significant impact on interim court orders and your final court order. We are highly skilled and experienced in ensuring that your case is thoroughly prepared and presented in all contested child custody disputes. Our Vancouver custody lawyers have helped countless client resolve their child custody dispute and reach successful outcomes in their cases.

Key issues to consider

The child’s best interests is the only concern of the courts.  

When determining who will live with the children, spend time with the children, or have the right to make important parenting decisions regarding the children’s health, education, religious upbringing or other areas, the court will consider the following factors:

  • history of the child’s care
  • lifestyle of each parent
  • parent’s ability to cooperate
  • child’s health and emotional well-being
  • the love and affection between the child and important people in the child’s life
  • the ability of parents or others who want guardianship, parenting time, or contact to look after the child;
  • effect of any family violence on the child’s safety, security and well-being;
  • In the case of older children, the history of the child’s care

Custody vs. Parenting Time

If you are proceeding under the Divorce Act, you’ll be using the term custody to refer to your time with your children. There are different types of custody:

1. Sole custody: One parent has the legal responsibility for caring for and making all decisions about a child. The child lives primarily with that parent.

2. Joint custody: Both parents share the rights and responsibilities for their children and make decisions. The children can live with both parents or mostly with one parent. A form of joint custody is shared custody, where the children spend at least 40 percent of the time with each parent.

3. Split custody: There are at least two children, and one or more of them live with one parent, and one or more of the other children live with the other parent (that is, the children are split up).

4. Shared custody: Each parent’s parenting time with the children is between 60%-40% of the time. The parents generally share the decision making process with respect to the children.

Under the Family Law Act, you’ll be using the term “parenting time” to refer to the time a guardian spends with the children.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a term commonly used in the Family Law Act. A child’s guardian is responsible for the child’s care and upbringing; only guardians are entitled to “parenting time” with a child and only guardians can exercise “parental responsibilities”.  All other significant people in the child’s life (aside from guardians) only have “contact” with the child.

Generally speaking, both parents are guardians of a child, either by virtue of residing together in the same house when the child is born, or by virtue of “regularly caring” for their child.   In special circumstances, non-parents can be court appointed to act as a child’s guardian or they can be appointed as a child’s guardian under a will.  Guardianship can be terminated by court order if terminating guardianship is in a child’s best interest.

What is “Parental Responsibility” and Why Does It Matter?

Parental Responsibility is a bundle of rights including the legal duties, powers and responsibilities and/or authority to make decisions in relation to a child.

Following separation, it is generally assumed that both parents have parental responsibility for a child, unless there are reasons to suggest otherwise (ie. family violence, bad decision making, and inability to cooperate).

In most situations, it is generally in the child’s best interest for his or her parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.  However, one parent may have final decision making power and the other may have a right to apply to a court to review any questionable decisions.  

What our clients say

Nassim is an AMAZING lawyer. She knows the law, she explains everything to you and answers every question you have in detail, and will guide you in the right direction. She will never tell you what to do, but will tell you that “it’s your choice”, while giving you reasonable advice. I had a very difficult, stressful family law case, where I went through a couple of different lawyers. My last lawyer was Nassim, and her and I discussed a plan from day one, which lead our path. She had a sense of humour which made this stressful process much easier.

Nassim’s Client

Laura quickly came up to speed on my file and was able to gather precisely what had gone wrong with our previous lawyer and how to correct the situation. She was realistic, honest and upfront – qualities hard to find in legal representation. She represented facts, but also, for the first time in our year and a half ordeal, our lived experience was represented. Laura made us feel cared for and truly represented in court.

Laura’s Client

Nassim was an excellent Lawyer. She helped us settle and control the hustle environment we were into with ease. The result was greater than we ever had expected to happen in such short time. She is very knowledgeable and informative. Nassim was an absolute pleasure to work with. I would recommend her to anyone looking to for a family lawyer to get the job done.

Nassim’s Client

These last couple of months have been very stressful for me. Laura Allan has been very reassuring and patient. I found myself in the middle of a high conflict custody battle and I felt protected and taken care of the entire process. The emotional support and dedication to my case has been incredible.

Laura’s Client

Why choose us

  • We have the expertise

    Our client’s can rely on our extensive legal knowledge to help navigate complex legal disputes. We are skilled at devising appropriate, timely and effective tailor-made solutions to each specific legal problem.  We work hard to be on the forefront of developing legal trends and providing the most current legal knowledge available.

  • We care

    We have an established track record of providing trusted legal advice. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service, representing our clients with integrity and confidentiality while employing legal strategies that help our clients reach their legal goals.

  • We speak in plain language

    We will manage every aspect of your case and keep you informed of the latest developments. Communication with our clients comes first, you will always be kept in the loop and know where your case stands.  Our team is always here to answer any questions you may have.

  • We are efficient and cost effective

    We are upfront with what will be charged to you and work together with you so your case strategy does not exceed your budget. Transparent billing is important to us, you will be provided with a clear, honest accounting and cost estimate for ongoing work.

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Whatever your situation is, we will achieve the best possible outcome.