Spending time with a child if you're not a guardian: Contact

According to the provincial Family Law Act, the time that someone who's not a guardian spends with a child is called contact with a child. This person could include a parent who isn't a guardian or other people, like grandparents. The guardian and non-guardian can either agree about contact or the non-guardian can apply to court for an order for contact with the child.

Even if a parent is not a guardian, the law recognizes the child's right to continue to have a relationship with that parent whenever possible.

Grandparents, step-parents, and other people who may be important to your child can also have contact with a child.

People who aren't guardians don't have parental responsibilities, and don't make decisions about the child's life.

If you are worried about your child's well-being when he or she spends time with the other parent (this applies whether that parent is a guardian or not) or another person with contact, you can apply to court for:

  • Conditions on contact (or parenting time): The court sets out the things the person with contact has to do if they want to have contact with the child (for example, not use drugs or alcohol while with the child and for 24 hours before, or not take the child out of the home community, or not have the child stay overnight).
  • Supervised time: The person with contact can visit the child only when someone else is with them. Before you go to court to apply for this, find out if a friend or family member is willing to supervise visits.
  • Specific times: The person with contact can spend time with the child only at certain times.
  • Specific place: The person with contact must not remove the child from a specific area.

In some cases, the judge may not allow a non-guardian parent or other person applying for contact to spend any time with the child.

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