Do fathers have the same parental rights as mothers during a divorce in Alberta?

Do fathers have the same parental rights as mothers during a divorce in Alberta?

When it comes to questions of custody or guardianship, parenting time and contact orders, mothers and fathers have the same legal rights.When the court is asked to resolve disputes involving children, it no longer makes sweeping generalizations based on the gender of the parent.Instead, the court focuses on what will be best in each specific situation, with a particular focus on what will work best for the children.

Who is a parent?

Unless a child has been adopted or was born using a method of assisted reproduction, the parents of a child are the child's biological mother and biological father.If a child was adopted, the child's parents are the people, or person, who adopted them.

In the case of a child born using assisted reproduction, the child's parentage is determined based on whose biological material (eggs, sperm, embryo) was used during the assisted reproduction and whether or not a surrogate is the birth mother of the child. If you intend to use assisted reproduction to conceive a child, or if you intend to donate biological material or be a surrogate, be sure to consult a lawyer to ensure that you fully understand what your rights and responsibilities will be with respect to the child.

There are certain legal presumptions that are made regarding who is the father of a child.For example, if your wife or common law partner gives birth, either during your relationship or within a certain period of time after you become divorced or separated, you will be presumed to be the father of the child.This presumption can be proven to be incorrect in court, if necessary.

Do fathers have the same parental rights as mothers during a divorce in Alberta?Legally, a father and a mother have the same rights with respect to their child. Parents who live together share guardianship rights and responsibilities and are expected to make decisions for their child together.If disputes arise during a separation or divorce, sometimes parents will find it necessary to have the court help them resolve these disputes.Rather than focusing on the rights of the parents, he court looks at factors relating to the best interests of the children.

What are the best interests of the child?

What factors will a court look at when making decisions affecting children?The court is required to do everything it can to ensure the child's safety (physical, emotional and psychological).The court must consider all of the child's needs and circumstances, including:

  • physical, psychological and emotional needs, specifically including the need for stability
  • who has cared for the child during the relationship
  • the cultural or religious upbringing of the child during the relationship
  • the child's opinion, if appropriate depending on the age of the child
  • specific plans for the child's care proposed by either parent
  • family violence that occurred during the relationship
  • the relationships that the child has with each parent and with other relevant individuals such as siblings, step-parents or grandparents
  • the ability of each parent to meet their responsibilities with respect to the child
  • any civil or criminal proceedings that are relevant to the child's well-being.

Speak with our Edmonton divorce lawyers for more help

Our Edmonton divorce lawyers can help answer all of your questions relating to whether fathers have the same parental rights as mothers during a divorce in Alberta.Let us help you protect your family. Contact us today.

Disclaimer: Please note the content contained in this article is not intended to act as legal advice as each matter is different. Please consult with an Alberta lawyer for specific legal advice on this topic

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