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Disputes related to child custody in Alberta

It’s a disparaging reputation no divorced parent should have. Frequent flyers refer to parents who, with alarming regularity, petition family law courts to resolve disagreements which, under other circumstances, would not be worth mentioning, much less come before a judge. In Alberta, as elsewhere, family law adjudicates substantive matters related to child custody, guardianship and parenting.

The key word is “substantive,” which encompasses the continuing welfare and appropriate enrichment of the child as he or she matures. However, some parents may become engaged in an interminable battle with each other. They will refer back to the courts for simple decisions, like enforcing the return of a child’s ballet slippers. Such applications might delay or displace more critical cases involving, for example, alleged child abuse or parental alienation.

Family law judges frown on what is considered a waste of the court’s time but have no effective way of preventing such cases being brought to court. British Columbia is one of the few provinces where the court may assign a neutral parenting coordinator when parents exhibit chronic conflict in child-raising. By contrast, an Ontario judge recently deplored the fact that Ontario courts are not free to do so without first obtaining the parents’ consent.

Ongoing antagonism between divorced parents can become disorienting and confusing to a child. Family law lawyers in Alberta are familiar with the full spectrum of scenarios that may emerge after child custody has been decided, yet discord seems to continue endlessly. If and until the law changes, the resources of a family law firm may be very able to address issues concerning a child’s development, and assist divorced spouses in parenting well.

Source: financial post.com, “Hand over the ballet slippers — ‘Frequent flyer’ parents tie up family courts with trivial arguments“, Laurie H. Pawlitza, Accessed on April 16, 2018

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