Some noncustodial parents in British Columbia believe that they have been denied their right to parenting time. The consequent disputes that arise may be valid if the custodial parent has assumed, without the court’s approval, the legal authority to make alterations to the noncustodial parent’s scheduled time with the child.
Parents who are denied contact with their children in this way may seek the court’s intervention. After properly petitioning the court, a family court judge may issue an order requiring the custodial guardian to cease prohibiting the noncustodial parent’s access to the child. For a petition to be proper, it must be submitted within one year of the alleged wrongdoing. Moreover, petitioners must show that the visiting guidelines that was altered had been established either by court order or a settlement agreement between the two parents.
When family court judges find that custodial parent’s noncompliance with the legally established guidelines was wrongful, they may issue an order that both corrects the noncompliance and compensates the noncustodial parent for the wrongdoing, sometimes with additional parenting time or even money. The order may also require parents to attend mediation sessions or family counselling. Furthermore, the custodial parent may be ordered to pay a court fine of up to $5,000.
Child custody disputes tend to evoke intense passion from both parents and may result in continued hostilities that are ultimately detrimental to the child’s stability as well as each parent’s relationship with the child. Though some disputes may require parents to go to court, others manage to obtain a resolution through mediation or negotiation. In either case, the help of a lawyer who practices family law is invaluable.