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The Definition Of Parent

A Day At The Courthouse

The Definition of Parentage Under the Family Law Act

I had an amazing day today at the Abbotsford Provincial Courthouse, learning about British Columbia’s new Family Law Act. Judges are starting to use the new language of parenting responsibilities and parenting time. When you go to court in British Columbia ask the Honourable Judge to order that you and your parenting partner shall have the parenting responsibilities outlined in Section 41 of the Family Law Act. The next paragraph is a copy of Section 41 because parenting is the tough and these 14 jobs are a good to-do list.

Parental responsibilities
41 For the purposes of this Part, parental responsibilities with respect to a child are as follows:

(a) making day-to-day decisions affecting the child and having day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child;
(b) making decisions respecting where the child will reside;
(c) making decisions respecting with whom the child will live and associate;
(d) making decisions respecting the child’s education and participation in extracurricular activities, including the nature, extent and location;
(e) making decisions respecting the child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including, if the child is an aboriginal child, the child’s aboriginal identity;
(f) subject to section 17 of the Infants Act, giving, refusing or withdrawing consent to medical, dental and other health-related treatments for the child;
(g) applying for a passport, licence, permit, benefit, privilege or other thing for the child;
(h) giving, refusing or withdrawing consent for the child, if consent is required;
(i) receiving and responding to any notice that a parent or guardian is entitled or required by law to receive;
(j) requesting and receiving from third parties health, education or other information respecting the child;
(k) subject to any applicable provincial legislation,
(i) starting, defending, compromising or settling any proceeding relating to the child, and
(ii) identifying, advancing and protecting the child’s legal and financial interests;
(l) exercising any other responsibilities reasonably necessary to nurture the child’s development.

If you live in Abbotsford you will also ask the Honourable Judge to order that Spring Break shall be shared equally between the parties. The first half of the Spring Break to be with you in 2014, and your parenting partner to have the first half of Spring Break in 2015 and to alternate in this manner.

Technically, School Boards can set school calendars to change over a three year period in British Columbia, so call your local school board to figure out your parenting schedule.

The First School Board Meeting 2014

The Definition Of A Parent Under the School Act

This evening I attended the first Abbotsford School Board Regular Meeting for 2014. The Trustees are trying to develop greater clarity around the definition of a parent under the Family Law Act. That definition states thirteen sections that describe how to assess parentage in adoption and assisted reproduction. However, even before the Family Law Act, the definition of a parent was never clear. I always told judges I had never done a DNA test on our children, but I was their parent because I felt it in my heart. Everyone went along with my definition of a parent because they wanted to try to get court costs and child support out of me.

Interestingly, the definition of a parent changed under the British Columbia School Act on March 18, 2013, which is the date the Family Law Act came into force, as follows:

“parent” means, in respect of a student or of a child registered under section 13,

(a) a parent or other person who has guardianship or custody of the student or child, other than a parent or person who, under an agreement or order made under the Family Law Act that allocates parental responsibilities, does not have parental responsibilities in relation to the student’s or child’s education, or
(b) a person who usually has the care and control of the student or child;

I suspect that the School Act wants to get parental consent from which ever adults have parenting responsibilities in relation to the student’s or child’s education. The Family Law Act is how you get an order that the Honourable Court is satisfied that you have parenting responsibilities in relation to your child because you feel these duties in your heart.

One way to get such an order would be to ask your former spouse to consent to this order. The judge would have difficulty denying a consent order.

Another way to get such an order, would be to bring a Charter Challenge asking the Attorney General of Canada why the Divorce Act of Canada violates our Charter of Rights by denying an automatic consent order or a rebuttable presumption of equal parenting. In your Charter Challenge you would simply offer as a remedy that you be granted a one-time Constitutional exemption from the Divorce Act to allow you to parent equally. The Courts would probably let one parent get away, rather than strike down the entire Divorce Act. Or better still, maybe when your children grew up, you could tell them the story of how their parent struck down a terribly hurtful law in Canada. Every time there’s an unequal parenting order, women get hurt, either mom herself or a second wife, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, or maybe a cousin.

La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 99 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!

Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 99 days till Awareness Day!

  1. January 15, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Very useful & informative – Thank-you Kevin.

    • January 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Thanks, guys. Constitutional arguments can be used in family law but I was told I had to give 60 days notice before hand. In criminal law, the judge will just start out by asking if there are any constitutional issues before the case begins.

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