Child Custody and Parenting – Living with a Judge’s Decision

Living with a Judge’s Decision

What can I do if I don’t agree with the judge?

You can appeal the judge’s decision. You should talk to a lawyer before you take any steps. There are only certain reasons that an order can be appealed, and there are specific legal tests that must be met. If you are thinking of appealing an order, then you should contact a lawyer quickly because there is a time limit on how long you have to appeal an order. Appeal courts do not interfere or change the original judge’s decision lightly.

  You don’t want the children to feel like it’s their fault that the other guardian does not visit. You might need to come up with an explanation that doesn’t blame the other guardian, for example: “Your mom is so sad and angry about the divorce that she just can’t manage visits right now.”

What can I do in situations concerning the other guardian?

What can I do if the other guardian isn’t obeying the parenting order?

If the other guardian is blocking time that you are supposed to have with the children, then the wording of your current court order matters. Were you granted specific times with the children (are the exact dates and times specified in the order?) or were you granted reasonable or generous time with the children (which means there are no dates and times set out in the order). If you have an order that does not specify the exact times and days of the week that the children are to be with you, then you can apply to change your order to be more specific.

If your court order has a police enforcement clause, you can go straight to the police to force the other parent to comply.

Enforcement order is an order in which a judge takes steps to encourage a parent to comply with a prior court order.

If you have an order that does specify exactly when you are supposed to have the children, but the other guardian isn’t cooperating with that, then you can apply for an enforcement order. The judge can order:

  • that you be given extra time with the children, to make up for the time that has been lost;
  • that the other guardian reimburse you for the expenses that you’ve incurred as a result of being denied your time with the children (for example, missed wages, travel expenses);
  • that the other guardian must provide security that will be held in trust until the parenting order is followed;
  • penalties of up to $100 per day, to a maximum amount of $5,000 for denying parenting time; or
  • a prison term.

What can I do if the other guardian stops paying me child support?

Child support and parenting time are separate issues. Not paying child support does not affect the right of your children to see the other guardian.

What can I do if the other guardian stops visiting the children?

This is a very hard situation. Try not to let the children know how angry you are with the other guardian. The children need to know that it’s not because of anything that they’ve done. Perhaps the other guardian could come up with some other ways to show the children that they care, like emails, calls or texts. If you think it is in the best interests of the children, you could apply to change the parenting order so that the time with the other guardian is lowered or eliminated.

For information about child support, go to our Families and the Law: Financial Support booklet

What can I do if I’m concerned about the safety of the children while they are with the other guardian?

You can make an application for the other guardian to have their parenting time supervised. This means that there will be another person with the other parent during their parenting time with the children. You will need evidence of why supervised access is in the best interests of the children. You can either agree on the person who will be there, or hire someone from an agency.

What can I do if other guardian is constantly harassing me?

If there are problems when you pick up or drop off the children, then you might want to consider doing the exchanges in a neutral place. You could use the parking lot of a friend’s house, social service agency, restaurant, or mall. You can apply to have the location changed if you have a court order.

If the other guardian is using the courts to harass you, then you can ask a judge for specific things to help with your situation. This kind of harassment can include the other parent threatening to go to court all of the time, making up emergency situations to go to court without notice or on very short notice, making trivial applications, making multiple applications on an ongoing basis, getting friends or family members to make false affidavits, and many other tactics. If this is happening to you, then you can ask a judge to:

  • require that the other guardian must get the court’s permission to make any further applications;
  • require the other guardian to pay money into the court before making applications;
  • dismiss or strike out court applications; or
  • require that the other guardian pay you money (also called costs).
You should NOT rely on this webpage for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only. June 2014.
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