When looking at a parenting plan, or parenting responsibilities, our clients will ask us what the best thing to do is for their legal case. We use the BC Family Law Act as the starting point. So, what is the best thing to do for a parent's legal case?
Here is the short answer: Do what is best for your kids, and that tends to be what is best for your legal case. That tends to be the best parenting plan.
An example: Let’s say two parents are involved in a dispute relating to the parenting time they will have with the kids, parenting responsibilities and guardianship.
Mom wishes to have most of the parenting time, and Dad does not agree. Let’s say that the mother is excellent at ensuring the kids do their homework, get to school on time, follow their routines during the week closely, etc. Let’s also say that the mother is less good at taking the kids on exciting adventures such as Wild Play or other weekend fun. The Dad, on the other hand, is not so good at the day-to-day routine stuff with the kids during the week but is excellent at taking the kids for weekend fun.
Whenever the kids come back to Mom after spending a weekend with Dad, the kids have played hard, had a great time, and have smiles on their faces. Mom wants to know if she should always let the kids go with their Dad on weekends or will this be a parenting plan that hurts her legal case? She intends to know if when it comes time for the judge to decide about what kind of parenting arrangement the kids should have, will she be criticized for allowing the Dad so much time with the kids on weekends?
Strategic parenting plans that are best for the kids are best for the court. In essence, I find so many people worrying about how their actions will affect their final court case.
What we sometimes forget is that judges, who might make the ultimate decision in these matters, are human beings with human judgment. Judges will often have raised children of their own. Some judges may have also gone through the separation process themselves.
When making a decision about parenting, I always tell my clients to ask what their gut says. What would suit their kids the best? What would be in the best interest of their children?
In my experience, if it is the best thing for your kids, just do it. Focus more on what is best for your children and less on worrying about the legal consequences.
Obviously, nothing I say here can take the place of actual legal advice geared towards your particular circumstances. It goes without saying that you should make sure you get the legal advice you for your particular case.
If you need the assistance of a competent, family law lawyer, please contact us at Hemminger Law Group Westshore.
Written by Val Hemminger, long-suffering law boss at Hemminger Law Group Westshore