The process of divorce can be emotionally taxing and often presents numerous legal challenges, especially when it involves children. One area of particular concern for parents is the matter of emergency custody, where a parent seeks immediate changes to parenting arrangements for the safety and well-being of their child. In Canada, the Divorce Act underwent significant changes as of March 1, 2021, including a shift in terminology from "custody and access" to "parenting arrangements." This blog post aims to provide an overview of the process for applying for emergency custody (now referred to as "emergency parenting arrangements") under the updated Divorce Act.
Before delving into the process, it's important to understand the concept of parenting arrangements. Parenting arrangements encompass decisions about where the children will live (referred to as "parenting time") and how decisions about their care will be made (referred to as "decision-making responsibility"). These arrangements can be determined by mutual agreement between parents or by a court order. However, there may be circumstances where a parent is concerned about the child's immediate safety, and an urgent change to the existing arrangement is necessary.
In certain situations, a parent may need to seek an emergency change to the parenting arrangements. This typically occurs when there is a credible threat to the child's safety, well-being, or health. Examples of such situations include:
The process for applying for emergency parenting arrangements involves the following steps:
The decision to seek emergency parenting arrangements is a serious one and should not be taken lightly. It's important to consult with a family law lawyer to understand your legal options and to navigate the complexities of the court system. Remember that the primary consideration in any parenting arrangement is the best interests of the child, and the court will always prioritize their safety and well-being.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek legal counsel for assistance with your specific situation.