Sharing Parenting Time Between Parents

family law; shared parenting; custody; guardianship; parents; children

Shared Parenting

On separation or divorce, dividing the time each parent shares with the couple’s child or children often leads to challenges. Unless a parent is a threat to that child, shared parenting is in the child’s best interest. Often couples struggle with how to divide time. Other times a parent refuses to share time with the other parent. The percentage of time that each parent has with their child has an impact in many ways including financial ones. Where there is concern or questions about parenting, shared parenting arrangement lawyers can step in to help. The shared parenting arrangement lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, Alberta are able to help.

What Is A Shared Parenting Arrangement?

While one might think ‘shared’ parenting constitutes 50-50 split of parenting time. Shared parenting arrangement lawyers, however, clarify that when one of the parties establishes that they have exercised access to the child for a minimum of 40 per cent over a course of a year, it is considered a shared parenting arrangement. This page has more information on child custody and access.

Why Is Parenting Percentages So Important

As with many things that come up in separation and divorce, financial ones cause a lot of conflict. A 40-60 split in parenting time triggers an adjustment in child support obligation that acknowledges the reality of the costs incurred by both parents in such arrangement.

How Is Parenting Time Calculated?

The two common approaches to calculating time exist. Shared parenting arrangement lawyers calculate parenting time in days or in hours. When using the days approach to reach 40 percent, the parent must have the child in care for 146 days per year. When calculating in hours, the 40 per cent threshold lies at 3,504 hours per year.

The calculation method makes a big difference. Calculating time in days versus hours can shift the percentage so that it moves a parent into a situation where they exercise 40 per cent access. For this reason, applying the appropriate method of calculation is crucial.

Unfortunately, no universally accepted method for calculating parenting time exists. Generally, looking at hours rather than days works best. The court established that it must look at the actual time each parent is parenting the children. For this purpose, it means taking responsibility for the children, and also to the intention of the parties.

Does Time Spent At School Or Daycare Count Towards Shared Parenting?

Calculating the time spent at school, daycare or extra curricular activities is relatively straight forward. While shared parenting arrangement lawyers may argue otherwise, the answer depends on whether the school or the day care will contact you or other parent in case of a problem. The actual parenting hours includes not just the amount of time that parent is physically present with the child. It also includes the time during which a parent has responsibility for the child.

The following is an example. With respect to school age children, the hours spent at school gets attributed to the parent contacted for problems during school hours. Similarly, the time the child spends in swimming lessons, at day care, or with a nanny, would count towards the actual parenting hours as long as the parent claiming this time is the parent who during that period is “responsible for their well-being”.

A custodial parent gets credit for time that a child spends sleeping or at school. A reduction of this time occurs for those hours when the non-custodial parent exercises rights of access or the child sleeps in the non-custodial parent’s home. Things change with established fixed drop-off times for the access parent to deliver the child to school or daycare and then the child returns to the custodial parent at the end of that day. In these situations, the time during school or daycare is typically credited to the custodial parent. Also, having a fixed exchange time between parents will help in determining the exact number of hours spent in care of each parent.

Getting Help From Shared Parenting Arrangement Lawyers

The question of whether a parent meets the 40 per cent threshold generates considerable litigation each year. Schedule a consultation with one of our shared parenting arrangement lawyers to discuss whether your parenting time meets the 40% threshold to establish shared parenting. We also help you understand how that changes child support obligation. Please contact our experienced team at Kahane Law Office. You can reach us in Calgary, Alberta at 403-225-8810 or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817, or email us directly here