Guardianship, Parenting, Contact

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When you separate from your spouse, common law partner or significant other, there should be a parenting arrangement in place to provide for your child’s continuing care and development. A parenting plan (or custody arrangement) sets out rules about how decisions about children will be made, carves out parental responsibilities and obligations, and specifies parenting time schedules (access or contact).

If two parents are unable to agree on the roles they will play in their child’s life after separating or going through a divorce, a judge will consider the child’s best interests in imposing a binding parenting arrangement upon them. This may seem straightforward at first glance. However, a judge’s determination of a child’s best interests includes considering a constellation of factors, many of which are legally intricate and apply differently to each family’s circumstances.

We recommend that all parents complete the free Parenting After Separation course located at Where there are children under 16 years of age, the course must be completed before a divorce can be granted or a court application commenced.


Our Approach to Parenting Disputes

The experienced Family Law lawyers at BARR LLP recognize that the circumstances of each parent and child are unique. Further, that not all judges will consider the same factors in imposing a parenting, guardianship, or custody arrangement. We have lawyers who have taught the Parenting After Separation course and have taught at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law.

Equipped with an abundance of legal knowledge on the intricacies of child custody law and the practical experience necessary to help parents implement workable child care plans, our top lawyers have established records of success in assisting parents resolve custody disputes amicably through negotiation or the processes of mediation, arbitration, or collaborative family law.

In situations where a high level of conflict between parents exists and reaching an agreement outside of court is not practical, BARR LLP has established itself as one of the top Family Law litigation groups in Alberta, providing premier legal advocacy to parents during all stages of the court process. Where conflict has led to criminal charges, we can also collaborate with one of our firm’s criminal defence lawyers, so that you do not need to utilize two law firms.

Relocation - When a Parent Wants to Move to a Different Municipality

Sometimes parents want to move to a different municipality. When they intend to take a child with them, this is referred to as a relocation dispute. Courts cannot stop a parent from moving, but they can decide whether the child moves or stays, and what the parenting arrangement will look like after the relocation.

These are incredibly challenging disputes, because of the impact that a relocation can have upon the parent-child relationship of the parent who stays, and because it is often perceived that there is no room to negotiate, as a relocation either occurs or does not. Our top Family Law lawyers have been able to negotiate creative resolutions to relocation disputes. We have also enjoyed success in both having relocations opposed and allowed.

Grandparent Contact and Guardianship

The relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is often one of the most significant and meaningful relationships in a child’s life. When a grandparent and a child’s guardian (typically a parent) cannot agree on the role a grandparent should play in a child’s life, the law in Alberta allows the grandparent to apply to the courts for assistance in facilitating contact with their grandchild.

In some situations, such as when there are serious concerns regarding a parent’s ability to care for a child or where Child and Family Services becomes involved, grandparents can even apply for guardianship over their grandchildren, giving them the authority to make major decisions over the upbringing and development of their grandchildren. Our Family Law lawyers have experience in informing grandparents about the legal options available to them, advising them on the most practical course of action to take and moving swiftly when grandparents’ contact with their grandchild is being curtailed.