Access refers to the visitation rights granted to a parent or other person. Access may be ordered to be supervised or unsupervised, depending on if there are any concerns as to the nature of the interactions between the access parent and the child. For example, if the access parent has a history of violent behaviour or insufficient parenting skills, the court may order access visits to be supervised by an adult family member in their home, in the community, or at a supervised access centre. Parenting skills programs and counselling are encouraged and may be ordered by the courts as a pre-requisite before granting or extending access rights to a parent.

The length and nature of access visits can also vary, depending on the child’s age and relationship with the access parent. Access can range from the minimal, such as speaking on the telephone once per week, to staying overnight on weekends and even some weekdays. Access is not to be withheld unreasonably by the custodial parent, and doing so could undermine a parent’s claim for custody of the children. However courts tend to be cautious in disrupting the child’s everyday schedule and school routine in approving a proposed access schedule.

We regularly act for parents seeking access to their children. Please contact our office for more information about access and visitation.