What is the Difference Between Child Custody and Parenting Time/Access?
Child custody and parenting time/access are two distinct concepts in family law, though they often intersect.
Child custody refers to the legal responsibility for a child. It encompasses the rights and responsibilities of making major decisions about the child's health, education and general welfare. Custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or sole (one parent has the primary decision-making authority).
Parenting time/access pertains to the actual time a child spends with each parent. In BC, the term "parenting time" is used, while in Alberta, it's referred to as "access." Regardless of the terminology, it denotes the schedule or arrangement determining when the child will be with each parent.