The new Family Law Act does not use the words custody or access. It uses “guardianship”, “parenting arrangements”, and “contact” instead.

A guardian is a person who is responsible for caring for and making decisions for a child. All parents who live together after their child’s birth are both guardians of the child. If the parents separate, they both remain guardians of the child unless they agree or a court orders otherwise.

If a parent never lived with the child, he or she is not a guardian of the child unless:

  • He or she regularly cares for the child, or
  • Has been named guardian by a court order or agreement.

Guardians have parental responsibilities. Parental responsibilities include decisions about:

  • Daily care of the child
  • Health care
  • Religious upbringing
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Where the child lives.

Parental responsibilities can be shared between guardians, or assigned to a single guardian. If guardians share parental responsibilities, they are supposed to consult each other when making decisions.

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Written by Velletta Pedersen Christie

The law firm of Velletta Pedersen Christie is based in lovely Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We employ some of the best lawyers in BC, and provide powerful, professional counsel to to clients in Victoria, across Canada and around the globe. We have the expertise to handle a variety of legal projects and cases, so contact us and we'll get you speaking with the appropriate member of our team.