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The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" governs child custody laws in Prince Edward Island. The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island has the ultimate authority over custody decisions in the province. In order for a court to make a custody decision, a parent must make an application to the court, setting out the period of proposed custody. A court may also make a custody award for a duration that is not specified by either parent.
Prince Edward Island courts favour decisions based upon the best interests of the child. Unless an agreement is reached between co-parents, a court will make a decision based on their opinion of what is in the best interests of the child. Factors taken into consideration include the child’s physical, mental, and emotional health, their gender, and the capability of each parent to provide a safe home environment.
The court may issue any of the following types of orders:
Under the "Friends of the Court Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap.F-3.2," both parents have a rightful obligation to be informed of any court proceedings relating to their children.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" outlines child support laws in Prince Edward Island. The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island is the judge of any dispute between co-parents related to child support payments. A court may enter into an order of child support without both parties appearing before the court.
The court will first determine the amount of child support to be paid and to whom the support should be provided. In making this determination the court will consider the financial need of the child, as well as the financial situation of the guardian entitled to child support, provided both parents and caretakers are:
The court will also consider any other relevant circumstances that may arise if it deems appropriate in order to reach an equitable determination.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" allows co-parents to make an agreement regarding co-parenting expenses in Prince Edward Island. Co-parenting expenses are considered to be the expenses incurred for the purpose of caring, providing for, and all other charges related to the child. Examples of such expenses include medical, dental, educational and transportation expenses.
If both parties agree to the inclusion of such expenses in an agreement, then the court will consider the term to be binding and both parties should be held to the agreement. The court will also consider the practical and financial circumstances with respect to the parties and circumstances of the child and reach a determination that is in the best interests of the child and the parties.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of each parent in relation to their children in Prince Edward Island. Both parents are equally responsible for the upbringing of their children and they have an equal right to participate in decision making with respect to their children in all matters, including decisions related to the health and education of the children.
The court may appoint a guardian ad litem, who will be the legal representative for the child in the proceedings. The guardian ad litem will advocate for the best interests of the child, representing their views in the proceedings and ensuring that their interests are upheld.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" provides for parenting plans in Prince Edward Island. Different from court orders, a parenting plan is an agreement between two parents to resolve their disputes regarding the care and upbringing of their child without going to court. The plan should govern the rights and obligations of both parents, and should outline the shared parenting time and decision-making responsibilities of each parent.
Parents may enter into a parenting plan agreement on their own, or with the involvement of a mediator. Mediators are professionals who can assist in the negotiation process. Mediators may also be ordered by the court to assist in settling disputes between co-parents.
If parents have reached an agreement regarding a parenting plan, they should consult an attorney to ensure proper legal documentation to be provided to the court. After approval from the court, the plan is legally binding and both parents must abide by the provisions of the plan.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1" states that both parents have equal rights concerning the care and well-being of the child in Prince Edward Island. Generally, Prince Edward Island courts presume that it is in the best interests of the child to have meaningful contact with both parents. All reasonable efforts should be made to ensure that the child has contact with each parent.
Unless there are circumstances that would cause harm to the child, both parents are entitled to reasonable visitation rights. Visitation rights may be for a reasonable period of time defined by the court, or for communication with the child regardless of the physical presence of one of the parents. These visits may take place at any reasonable time, place and frequency.
The Family Law Act, "R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. F-3.1," outlines the legal requirements for mediation services in Prince Edward Island. Under the legislation, mediation is defined as “a process of voluntary negotiation and discussion between the parties and their representatives in order to achieve an agreement on the resolution of issues concerning co-parenting matters in Prince Edward Island.”
In Prince Edward Island, mediators must be approved by the court and they must meet the criteria of the court. The court may appoint a mediator to assist in any court proceedings relating to the disputes between co-parents.
Mediation can be an efficient and cost-effective way for co-parents to come to agreements in respect to their disputes. This process can reduce litigation costs and results in a more amicable resolution. Through this process, both parents can work together to reach mutual decisions regarding the care and upbringing of their child without having to go to court.
Understanding the legal matters surrounding co-parenting in Prince Edward Island is essential for co- parents and for those who are looking for guidance in the area. This blog post outlined the main aspects of co-parenting laws in Prince Edward Island, including custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, parental rights, decisions, parenting plan, visitation rights, and mediation.
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Warning: This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.