WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY CHILD DOESN’T WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH ME?

When determining the amount of time that parents may exercise parenting time with their children, the Courts of British Columbia will always look only to the best interests of the children.   Usually, in the absence of a court order or written agreement, the biological parents of the children are joint guardians of the children and are entitled to exercise parenting time with the children provided it is in the best of the children. 

When determining whether a parent exercising parenting time is in the best interests of the children, the Courts of British Columbia will consider the views of the children unless inappropriate to do so.  But what does this practically mean?

For children under the age of 6, the courts will give literally no weight to the views of a child as to how much parenting time he or she should spend with each parent and under what conditions.  When a child is between 7 to 11 or 12, the courts will actually consider the child’s views but it is unlikely that such views will be determinative on the court’s decision as to parenting time.  However, when the child is over the age of 12 and under the age 15, the courts will seriously consider the child’s views unless there is evidence of the child being alienated from one parent by the other parent.  When the child is over the age of 15, even where there is evidence of alienation, the courts will often be hesitant to make an order in contravention of a child’s stated wishes without being convinced that a framework has been put into place for re-unification of the alienated parent and child.  The courts view 16 as being an age where teens must be given a “significant measure of autonomy” as to whether a court ought to order a teen to spend time with a parent. 

If you are being denied parenting time with your children, consult Vancouver & Burnaby Family Law and Child Support lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107