Custody and Access 2018 Program Materials

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This seminar provided an in-depth examination of custody and access issues in family law. Topics addressed included high conflict custody and parenting matters, mobility issues, adoption, and parenting expert interventions, among others. Recent case law developments were also highlighted and practical strategies for dealing with custody and access issues were discussed.

High conflict custody and parenting matters are some of the most challenging files that family law lawyers deal with. This paper discusses strategies and considerations for lawyers to keep in mind when faced with a high conflict custody matter in all stages of a file: consulting with the client, gathering evidence, developing a strategy, questioning, using alternative dispute resolution, and preparing for trial/arbitration. It also includes, as an appendix, a high conflict custody checklist for … Read More


Many children are exposed to separation and family breakups each year, but their opinions and feelings aren’t always sought when determining custody arrangements. This paper argues that a child’s voice should be heard in high conflict custody, access, and parenting matters. It explores strategies and mechanisms to consider the child’s voice in such proceedings, including direct (affidavit or oral) evidence, videos/letters from the child, hiring a child consultant or psychologist to meet … Read More


This paper discusses the types of interventions conducted by a parenting expert, which are classified as either evaluative interventions or therapeutic interventions. It provides an overview of the following types of evaluative interventions: informal and formal triage, views of the child, parent psychological evaluation, child/adolescent psychological evaluation, focused assessments, and arbitration. It also examines the following therapeutic interventions: educational sessions, mediation, … Read More


This paper discusses the current law and suggested approach to relocation applications in Alberta. The paper sets out the starting framework for mobility applications from Gordon v Goertz, [1996] SCJ No 52. It then considers relocation applications from both the applicant and opposing parent’s positions, discussing the threshold test, reasons for relocating, timing of the move, and the proposed destination. It also considers British Columbia’s statutory guidelines with respect to relocation … Read More


This paper examines access issues, and in particular, focuses on more contentious issues where parties are seeking to limit and put conditions on access. Topics discussed include supervised access, access after adoption, supervised access exchanges, access and extra-curricular activities, long distance access, overnight access and breastfeeding infants, and access termination.

This paper is part of a collection presented at LESA’s Custody and Access 2018 program in Edmonton on March 6, 2018 … Read More


This paper discusses adoption law in Alberta, including the relevant legislative framework and key jurisprudence. It examines the evolution of birth father rights in adoptions in Alberta, step parent adoptions, and facilitation of adoptions. In addition, it highlights the process and procedure for adoptions in Alberta at present.

The paper includes the following appendices: precedent forms for consent by a guardian to adoption and consent by birth father to adoption; step parent adoption client … Read More