Further to our previous blog post titled: Non-guardians becoming Guardians under the Family Law Act (http://hart-legal.com/non-guardians-becoming-guardians-under-the-family-law-act/), if you are a non-guardian parent, this can have a significant impact on your involvement in your child’s life.
Section 40(1) of the Family Law Act provides that only a guardian may have parental responsibilities with respect to a child. When both parents are guardians of a child, each of them is entitled to exercise all parental responsibilities with respect to the child in consultation with the other. If you are a non-guardian parent, however, your child’s other parent will be able to exercise parental responsibilities without consultation with you.
Pursuant to section 41 of the Family Law Act, parental responsibilities are as follows:
a) making day-to-day decisions affecting the child and having day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child;
b) making decisions respecting where the child will reside;
c) making decisions respecting with whom the child will live and associate;
d) making decisions respecting the child’s education and participation in extracurricular activities, including the nature, extent and location;
e) making decisions respecting the child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including, if the child is an aboriginal child, the child’s aboriginal identity;
f) subject to section 17 of the Infants Act, giving, refusing or withdrawing consent to medical, dental and other health-related treatments for the child;
g) applying for a passport, license, permit, benefit, privilege or other thing for the child;
h) giving, refusing or withdrawing consent for the child, if consent is required;
i) receiving and responding to any notice that a parent or guardian is entitled or required by law to receive;
j) requesting and receiving from third parties health, education or other information respecting the child;
k) subject to any applicable provincial legislation,
i) starting, defending, compromising or settling any proceeding relating to the child, and
ii) identifying, advancing and protecting the child’s legal and financial interests;
l) exercising any other responsibilities reasonably necessary to nurture the child’s development.
Practically speaking, as your child’s parent, you may expect to be included in decisions about your child (for example, where your child lives and goes to school and his or her participation in extracurricular activities). In many cases, even when one parent is a non-guardian, the other parent will still discuss important issues with him or her and they will make decisions together. However, this is not always the case.
If you are a non-guardian parent, and you have concerns about how this may affect your involvement in your child’s life, or you would like to know how to become a guardian, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers at Hart Legal. Our offices are conveniently located in Victoria, downtown Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond and Calgary, with new offices opening later this year.