Non-guardians' contact with a child

There are different words to describe the time that a person who isn't a guardian or who doesn't have custody of a child spends with that child.

  • Access is used in the federal Divorce Act to describe the time that a person who doesn't have custody spends with the child.
  • Contact with a child is the term used in provincial family law to describe the time that a non-guardian spends with the child.

These terms can be used for parents or any other person related to the child, such as a grandparent.


Access is usually the time a parent who doesn't have custody will spend with their child. But grandparents, step-parents, and other relatives can apply for access, too. Find out about access arrangements after separation.

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

Even if you're not a child's guardian, you might still have a right to have contact with them after separation. This applies if you're a parent who isn't a guardian, or another relative like a grandparent, step-parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle. Learn about your right to contact.

Do children have a right to time with their grandparents?

Separation can be hard on other relatives, too. But children have the right to have contact with their grandparents if it's in their best interests. Find out more about the rights of children and grandparents and what to do if the parents refuse to allow contact.