As a general principal when making decisions with respect to children the Court and other professionals such as Arbitrators, Mediators, Parenting Coordinators and Dispute Resolution Officers are obligated to make decisions which are in the “best interest of the child”.
Calgary, AB -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/02/2014 -- What does the term “best interest of the child” mean? There is no standard definition and each case turns on its own facts. Generally speaking however, in determining what is in the best interest of a child the Courts and other professionals must ensure the greatest possible protection of the child’s physical, psychological and emotional safety and consider all the child’s needs and circumstance. In addition the Court will consider some or all of the following factors:
The child’s need for stability taking into consideration the child’s age and stage of development;
The history of care for the child;
The amount of time the child has spent with the parents after separation and what post separation status quo exists;
Communication and the ability of the parents to co – operate on the issues affecting the child;
Access and parenting time of the parent that the child does not live with;
The child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage;
The pans proposed for the child’s care and upbringing;
Family violence and its impact on safety and wellbeing of the child and other family members;
The nature and strength and stability of the relationship of the child with each parent;
The ability of each parent to care for and meet the needs of the child; and
Depending on the child’s age, the child’s views and preferences to the extent that it is appropriate to ascertain them. This may entail Legal counsel for the child or a psychological assessment or intervention.
A Judge, Justice or other professional may have very wide discretion in how to apply the above noted factors to each individual case.
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