Separation and Divorce: Child Custody, Access, and Parenting Plans
What are some of the different types of access?
If the parents are able to co-operate, access plans can be left open and flexible. This is sometimes called reasonable access or liberal and generous access. This allows the parents to informally make plans that can easily be changed if the situation changes.
Sometimes access plans include a specific and detailed schedule. This is often called fixed access or specified access. The plan's terms may cover things like holidays, long weekends, children’s birthdays, and religious occasions. It may include where access will take place, who is responsible for pick up and drop off, and other conditions.
In some situations, access may need to be supervised by another person. For example, if the parent with access has:
- a drinking or drug problem,
- abused the child in the past, or
- threatened or tried to take the child away from the other parent.
The person who supervises might be a relative, a friend, a social worker, a worker at a supervised access centre, or a Children's Aid worker.
In the most extreme cases, a parent might not have any access to their child. For example, if they have seriously neglected or abused their child, or if their child's safety cannot be protected.