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A Northwest Calgary Law Firm

Parenting Agreement and Child Custody Lawyer in NW Calgary

Even after the end of your marriage through divorce or separation, your children are important to you. If you’re concerned about child custody or visitation, you can count on Dukeshire Law Office’s child custody lawyer in Northwest Calgary to help you understand the ins and outs of the process. Our child custody lawyer will provide legal guidance to help you establish parenting agreements and visitation schedules that match your children’s best interests.


Some crucial changes came into effect on July 1, 2020 in the Divorce Act. More child-centric terminology, such as "Parenting Order," "Parenting Time," and "Parental Decision-making Ability," replaced "Custody" and "Access." All of these changes are sensitive to children as the Court now prioritizes the children's best interests.


If you require assistance with parenting agreements in NW Calgary, book an appointment to discuss your case today.

What Does a Parenting Agreement Cover?

Parenting agreements now cover what was previously known as child custody and child visitation rights. It is a legal document that needs to ensure that the best interests of the children of divorced or separated parents are prioritized. It delineates how the parents will manage:

  • Custody
  • Parenting time (access)
  • Child support
  • Spousal or partner support

Generally speaking, a parenting agreement should contain:

  • The desired decision on legal custody of the children
  • How do you intend to spend time with your children, including vacations
  • How do you plan to take care of your parental responsibilities
  • A mechanism for settling potential disputes that might arise

Every child is unique, which is why every parenting agreement is different and should incorporate their special requirements. Please speak to us to learn more about parenting agreements in Northwest Calgary.


How Does One Create a Parenting Agreement?

Consulting a family lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the legal system is essential to creating an agreement that prioritizes the children’s best interests while representing you. 


A parenting agreement needs to address:

  • Physical custody: This means deciding where the children will spend the majority of their time. This factor is specific to your family's dynamics and needs to address your children's unique needs. It might include a weekly parenting schedule and a yearly visitation calendar outlining the access rights of the parent who doesn't have physical custody.
  • Legal custody: This aspect needs to cover the decision-making process around education, upbringing, health, and more. We've discussed decision-making in detail in the sections below.


children playing piano

What Is the Best Interest of the Child?

When considering a child's best interests, the Court prioritizes their overall health and well-being. Following aspects are considered when deciding what’s best for your child:

  • Their physical and emotional needs
  • The capacity and intention of each parent in meeting their needs
  • The child's preferences
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect in the family
  • Whether the parents can communicate maturely
  • The quality of care received by the child so far
  • And more

Who Do We Represent?

Child custody (now known as decision-making responsibility) and access (now known as parenting time) are sensitive issues that involve a variety of stakeholders. Every situation requiring our services is unique in its own way and includes different people who have a role to play in the children's lives. We have experience in representing people with different relationships to the child in question, including- mothers, fathers, grandparents, unmarried couples, same-sex couples, and guardians. No matter who is involved in the proceedings, the best interests of the child supersede every other concern.

There are 2 laws that govern child custody in Alberta:

  • The Divorce Act, which is federal legislation that applies to married couples only. Applications can be made for child custody and access. The Divorce Act recently introduced some crucial changes in in March 2021. 
  • The Family Law Act is for married and unmarried couples with children. Applications can be made for guardianship, parenting time and contact.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the child access and custody proceedings, the lawyer at Dukeshire Law Office in North West Calgary will advocate for your rights and help you reach a conclusion that respects the child’s well-being.


What Is Child Custody or Decision Making Responsibility?

Child custody, or decision-making responsibility, is the rights and responsibilities of your children’s care and upbringing, meaning that the parent holding custody gets to determine how your child is raised. It also dictates with which parent a child lives. There are several types of custody or decision-making responsibility, including:

  • Joint custody– parents share responsibilities and decision-making. Parents must be willing to work together to ensure success of this form of custody. A variety of living arrangements are possible with joint custody. 

  • Sole custody – children live with one parent who has authority to make day-to-day decisions as well as long-term decisions. The other parent is given generous contact or access and often has to assume financial responsibilities such as child support. Parents who choose sole custody are usually unable to cooperate amicably. 

  • Shared parenting – means that your children live with each parent at least 40% of the time. Parents can have both joint custody and shared parenting of children at the same time.   

  • Split custody – siblings are separated between parents, with each parent having custody of one or more of your children. 


Many important factors determine child custody, or decision-making responsibility in Alberta, including the history of the relationship with the child, finances, other commitments of the parties involved and, most importantly, the child's best interest. Our child custody lawyers in Northwest Calgary will be able to help you determine which type of custody will be best for your child and will help you attain that custody either through mediation or court proceedings. Parents should agree on the type of custody for the best interests of your child.


What Is Child Access or Parenting Time?

In most cases, both parents have the right to spend time with the child to different degrees. In cases where a single parent has primary residency, child access refers to the time the child spends with the parent who doesn't. Child access, now known as parenting time, is important because it lets you be involved in your child's life, even if you don't live with them. With child access, you have the right to be informed about the factors involved in the child's well-being.


What Is Child Guardianship?

A guardian is a person entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the well-being of the child. There can be more than two guardians, with each one having the right to make important decisions concerning the child. By this definition, both parents can be the guardians of the child. However, in many cases, the parents are unable to take care of the child. In these situations, the guardians are other central figures in the child's life, like grandparents, uncles, aunts, or even someone unrelated to the child. The guardianship of the child can also be temporary or permanent under the court's orders.

According to the new changes to the Divorce Law, a person who regularly spends time with the child, but doesn’t have the power to make decisions regarding their health, education and well-being, is termed to have ‘contact’ with them.


The Issues We Address

Child custody is a complicated issue involving a variety of factors. All situations involving child custody and access have their own special concerns. The lawyer at Dukeshire Law Office are trained to discreetly handle all kinds of issues when it comes to defending your rights in a child custody and access issue, and prioritizing the child's well-being over everything else. Some of the issues that come up in these cases include:

  • Who will financially support the child
  • Who will be responsible for the child's physical and mental health
  • Who will take care of the child's social welfare
  • Where will the child spend their holidays
  • The child's residence
  • The nature of involvement of each party in the child's life

Do you have any questions regarding our child custody and access services in North West Calgary? You can send them to us and we will get back to you promptly.

Child Visitation Lawyer in Northwest Calgary

The parent your children live with after a divorce for more than 60% of the time is called the custodial parent. Visitation is the time non-custodial parents get to spend with their children. Our child visitation lawyer in Northwest Calgary can help you work towards the visitation rights you desire, so that you can still be a part of your children’s lives.

The visitation lawyer at Dukeshire Law Office will help you and your spouse determine a visitation schedule that meets the best interests of your children. Contact us today to speak with legal professionals about your child visitation and custody concerns. We can help you navigate the recent changes and their impact on your child custody case.

Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer

Joint, sole, or split custody, we help you make the wise choice for your child.

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Contact Dukeshire Law Office

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Main: 403-286-7008

Fax: 403-286-7644




201-4616 Valiant Dr NW

Calgary, AB T3A 0X9


Business Hours

Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM

Dukeshire Law Office, located in Northwest Calgary, Alberta, serves clients from Calgary Northwest, Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane and the surrounding area.

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