When one parent is the “access parent” or has parenting time with children of a separated relationship, the frequency and duration of such access or parenting time differs based on the circumstances of the relationship. There are different structures that can be implemented to ensure the best interest of the child is being adhered to.
When determining frequency, the parties must look at the best interest of the child. There can be flexible and structured approaches to child access for the access parent. The court must focus on what terms of access will best serve the interests of the child. Where parties are able to mutually agree and accommodate each other in respect of access, the courts are generally satisfied that the parties will act in the best interests of their children and may leave the terms of access undefined other than to order that the non-custodial parent will have reasonable, generous or liberal access. Typically, courts will require that reasonable notice be provided where a spouse wishes to exercise access pursuant to a flexible arrangement. Where leaving the access arrangement to the parents will cause more conflict or is not possible because of the existing conflict, the court may made very detailed orders that impose a schedule and attempt to anticipate most foreseeable circumstances, in order to reduce the need for communication and the opportunity for friction between the parties.