In divorces where children are involved, decision-making rights are often a major issue during the divorce proceedings and decision-making arrangements. There can also be situations when a parent wants to get sole decision-making rights of the child for different reasons.

This entire journey of getting sole decision-making rights can be arduous, but it can be made easier with the help of experienced family law lawyers.

The fact that every parent wants what is best for their child is a subjective concept. As a result, the courts have to consider many different factors before deciding on a particular case.

In this blog post, you will get a quick guide on the process of getting sole decision-making rights in Alberta.

What Are Sole Decision-Making Rights?

Parents tend to get confused between different legal concepts, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. In 2021, amendments in the Divorce Act were made to clarify the legal terminologies, address family relocation problems, and put special emphasis on the best interests of the children during decision-making battles.

Parenting time is the time that a parent spends with a child, while decision-making responsibility means making important decisions about the child’s upbringing, education, and health care.

Suppose you successfully want to get full decision-making rights. In that case, professional child family lawyers in Alberta will have to use compelling evidence about parental unfitness to show that sole decision-making rights are in the child’s best interests.

Also Read: Common Myths About Child Decision-Making Cases

What Makes A Parent Unfit?

A judge may rule that a parent is unfit to take care of the child due to:

  • Drugs or alcohol abuse.
  • Serious mental illness.
  • Domestic abuse and violent behaviour.
  • Abandonment or child neglect.

The Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act of Alberta provides guidelines for identifying and proving neglect in the following situations:

  • Failure to take care of a child properly.
  • Depriving the child of a healthy social and physiological environment.
  • Depriving the child of emotional support and care.
  • Abusing or assaulting the child.
  • Leaving the child in a dangerous location.
  • Abandoning the child.

Proving the neglect of one parent typically involves evidence in the form of photographs, medical reports, police reports, or witness testimony. It is also possible to obtain emergency child decision-making rights in Alberta if strong preliminary evidence is available.

However, the final decision-making rights arrangement is directly dependent on the court proceedings and whether the judge is convinced that one parent is unfit to care for the child.

A guardian or parent who wants to take full decision-making rights of the child should hire the best family law lawyers in Edmonton. The complexity of these cases can be very overwhelming for parents who are already going through a difficult time. Hence, it is a good idea to let professional lawyers handle these procedures.

Who Can Apply For Sole Decision-Making Rights?

Since decision-making rights are gender-neutral in Alberta, both mother and father have the right to file for sole decision-making rights. A parent or even a guardian can be awarded sole decision-making rights by the court only if it determines that it is in the child’s best interests.

Factors Considered To Evaluate A Child’s Best Interests

The judicial decisions in decision-making rights cases are always based on the best interest of the child. The parent who is seeking sole decision-making rights in Alberta must provide compelling evidence that the other parent is unfit to have decision-making rights.

Some of the most important factors considered by judges while evaluating a child’s best interest are:

  • Relationship of the child with the parent.
  • Parent’s capability to fulfil the child’s emotional and physical needs.
  • The capability of the parent to provide a secure and stable home life.
  • History of sexual and domestic abuse.
  • History of drug abuse and addiction.
  • History of violence and incarceration.
  • Location of the parents.
  • Mental illness.
  • The interest of the parent in having child custody and sharing responsibilities.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the overall well-being and best interests of the child. If you think that your child’s safety will be in danger with the other parent, you should get in touch with a family law lawyer and file for sole decision-making rights.

About Peak Family Law

Peak Family Law is a team of professional lawyers in Edmonton. We have dealt with a wide range of legal issues and family cases related to divorce, child decision-making rights, and parenting time.

If you want to file for sole decision-making rights, you should contact us today to discuss your case and maximize your chances of winning it with the help of top-rated family law lawyers in Edmonton.

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