Parenting after a divorce or separation

Parenting is arguably one of the most important jobs you will ever take on in your life. So, it’s no surprise that if you are currently dealing with the challenges of a divorce or separation your children’s wellbeing is likely right at the top of your priority list. You probably have a number of thoughts running through your mind and a plethora of questions you want answers to. 

At Hayes-Fry law we are committed to working with you at each step of your journey. Our approach centers around keeping you out of the courtroom if at all possible, and ensuring your goals are met. This approach not only reduces costs but more importantly, reduces any unnecessary stress to both you and your children. 

Wondering what types of issues, you might need to consider? We’ve attempted to break down some of the big ones for you below. 

What’s the difference between decision making responsibility and parenting time?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the terminology used when discussing how your children’s time will be spent and who will be making some of their most important decisions. Decision making responsibility and parenting time are two separate things and it is possible to have parenting time without decision making responsibility. Decision making refers to the responsibility of a parent when it comes to making decisions about things like education, health, extra curriculars, religion etc. Parenting time on the other hand refers to time that your child actually spends with you. This can include time while they are at school, summer camp or daycare. 

Who will make decisions regarding your children’s health, schooling, extra-curriculars or religion?

The best option for decision making will depend on the nature of your relationship with your child’s other parent. Are you able to share decision making, thereby requiring you to consult each other before finalizing any decisions? Or would it be best if you split decision making – for example, one of you handles all decisions related to education while the other handles decisions related to extra curriculars? 

In some cases, a parent may seek sole responsibility for making all decisions. A lawyer can advise if this may be the right move for you. 

How much time will you get to spend with your children and when?

This depends on the schedule that you and your child’s other parent agree to. One parent may have majority parenting time meaning the child spends more than 60% of their time with that parent. Alternatively, parenting time may be split meaning that the child spends at least 40% of their time with each parent. 

When discussing your parenting schedule, it’s also important to discuss how holidays such as Christmas, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, will be handled. Finally, you will also need to consider summer or winter vacations and how you will schedule these each year.

 Hayes-Fry law has extensive experience working with parties to negotiate and draft a plan that is mutually beneficial and considers the best interest of your children first and foremost.  If litigation is what’s required, we’ve also got highly experienced and effective litigators.

Whether you’re looking for a lawyer to advise you of your rights and obligations or a mediator to assist you with achieving the most optimal agreement for you and your family the Hayes-Fry law team is here to help. Give our office a call today at 780.831.7370 or email and we’d be happy to set you up for a consultation with one of our family lawyers.

The following resources were relied on in the preparation of this blog:


  1. Divorce Act, R.S.C., 1985, c, 3 (2nd Supp.)
  2. Government of Canada, “Making plans:  A guide to parenting arrangements after separation or divorce” (2022-03-07), Online: Section 4: What is the best parenting arrangement for my child? <>