Generally the natural parents of the child are his or her guardians and share parental responsibilities such as decision making for the child.
In cases where parents have substantially equal parenting time with the Child, they equally share decision making powers and in cases of disagreements over major decision making they have the following choices:
- Go to Court and ask the Court to render a final decision
- Mediate with a formal or informal mediator to reach a mutual decision
- Hire an arbitrator to make a final decision
- Work with a Parenting Coordinator who specializes in reducing conflict regarding children and/or make decisions in case of disagreement.
The Guardianship Models: The Joyce Model and the Horn Model
If you or your spouse disagree on who should have a final say regarding major decisions for your children, the Court can make that determination on your behalf. There are two guardianship or parental responsibilities models:
The Joyce Model
The Joyce model was created by a Master of the BC Supreme Court. Essentially it says that the primary caregiver of the child must consult the other parent regarding any major decisions for the child and seek the approval of the other parent. In case of a disagreement, the primary caregiver will make the final decision and the other parent has the right to challenge that decision with the Court for a final determination.
Joyce model is popular in cases where one parents is the primary caregiver and has substantial parenting time with the child and the other parent has contact with the child or has access to the child. I.e. the parent having contact with the child sees him/her every other weekend and the rest of the time, the child is with the primary caregiver.
The Horn Model
The Horn Model was also created by Master Horn, a Master of the BC Supreme Court. It says that both parents of the child must consult with each other regarding any major decisions respecting the child. In case of the disagreement, no one can make a final decision and the parents must either resolve the issue between themselves, mediate or ultimately take the matter to Court for a final determination.
The Horn Model is popular in cases where the parents share parenting of the child and have substantially equal time with the child. I.e. week on/week off parenting time or the child spending more than 40% of his/her time with each parent.
The BC Family Law Act at s. 40 to s.43 also confirms that guardians of the child have a duty to consult with one another regarding a major decision for the child and in case of a disagreement, they have the option to have the court determine the issue.
Sold guardianship happens when only one parent or guardian of the child makes decisions for the child and the other parent has no right or say. Sole guardianship happens in very extreme cases and often one parent must have done something incredibly wrong to have guardianship powers taken away from him/her. This happens when a guardian is violent towards the child, alienates the child, is mentally ill, is an addict, etc.
For more information, please contact us to set up a consultation.