Our specialties > Access – Parenting Time

Access -
Parenting Time

Access is now known as “parenting time” under the new Divorce Act changes of March 2021. “Parenting time” promotes the concept that the parent who lives outside the children’s home is not just a visiting “fun time” parent: that parent often continues to play a critical role in their children’s lives long after separation or divorce. 

In any family dynamic, children are the priority. Their physical needs are important. So is their emotional well-being. Their relationship with each of their parents nurtures bonds that are critical to that child’s positive social and emotional development. 

This is why in Ontario, the courts do their best to ensure that the parent-child relationship remains even after the relationship between parents has broken down. This maybe true even if there are safety concerns for the children. Your children’s safety requires thinking about the potential abuse they may be exposed to and also considers whether the parenting time is conducive to the child’s positive development.  

Access or parenting time is your children’s right to have time to bond with the parent who lives outside their home. This can be one of the most challenging areas of family life after a separation or divorce. Depending on the reasons for the separation, many complications may arise.


handling difficult situations

Parents sometimes use their children to make demands of, or to control their ex-partners, creating high tension that often negatively affects the children. Where abuse is present or possible, a parent may seek specific directions in the order for parenting time to enhance their own and the children’s safety.

Sterling Law is experienced in mediating, negotiating and litigating the how, when and where of access that frustrates so many parents. We are here to advocate for your rights and the rights of your children that enable them to thrive emotionally and physically while giving you a sense of security in knowing that you have the support of the legal system.


“Decision-making responsibility” refers to a parent’s authority to make decisions about the child such as educational decisions, non-emergency medical decisions, religious decisions, and extracurricular activity decisions.  The non-decision-making parent does not have the right to make or be involved in making choices affecting the child’s welfare and development, even if they have parenting time with the child.  If an emergency arises or when the decision-making parent is unavailable, a non-decision-making parent may exercise some restricted decision-making authority.  

“Parenting time” has replaced the word “access”; think visiting with the child as distinct from making decisions concerning the child.   “Parenting time” refers to a child’s right to visit with or be visited by their parents.  Recall that the test is “in the best interests of the child.”  Parents often confuse this concept thinking and saying, to the annoyance of many judges, that it is their right to see their child.  This is inaccurate:  the right belongs to the child to see, know and bond with their non-residential parent so as to develop a balanced relationship with both parents.     

Parenting time in Mississauga also includes the parent’s right to inquire about and receive information about the child’s health, education, and welfare from the parent with decision making responsibility or from the children’s third-party caregivers and supporters. 

Parenting time or access refers to the amount of time a parent spends with their child after a separation or divorce. It involves the physical custody of the child and the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing.

As a family law firm in Brampton, here are the types of parenting arrangements available in Canada, including:

  • Sole custody: where one parent has full physical and legal custody of the child.
  • Joint custody: where both parents share physical and legal custody of the child.
  • Shared custody: where the child spends equal or nearly equal amounts of time with both parents.
  • Split custody: where siblings are separated between the parents, with one child living primarily with one parent and another child living primarily with the other parent.

Parenting time or access is determined based on the best interests of the child. The court takes into account factors such as the child’s age, needs, and preferences, as well as each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Being represented by a family lawyer in Brampton who has several decades of experience and experience dealing with child custody and parenting time cases will help your case significantly.

Yes, parenting time or access arrangements can be modified in Canada if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a move or a change in work schedule. However, any changes must still be in the best interests of the child.

Some tips for co-parenting after a separation or divorce include:

  • Keeping communication respectful and focused on the child’s needs.
  • Being flexible and willing to compromise.
  • Maintaining consistent routines for the child.
  • Avoiding speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child.
  • Encouraging the child’s relationship with the other parent.

A lawyer can provide legal advice and representation for parents dealing with parenting time or access issues in Mississauga. Sterling Law is here to help you negotiate parenting arrangements, represent their client in court, and ensure that their client’s rights and the child’s best interests are protected. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation (up to 30 minutes only). 

Let's talk

Brampton Office: (905) 793-0557 ext 100

Mississauga Office: (905) 306-2793

Email: service@sterlinglaw.ca

Get an Appointment Today!