People who aren't guardians:
- don't have parental responsibilities, and
- don't make decisions about a child's life.
But even if a parent isn't a guardian, the law recognizes a child's right to have a relationship with that parent whenever possible. BC's Family Law Act calls this contact with a child.
Other people who're important to your child can also get contact with them. For example:
- aunts and uncles
To do this:
- the child's guardian can sort out contact with the non-guardian themselves, or
- the non-guardian can apply to court for an order for contact with the child.
If you're worried about your child's well-being when they spend time with someone who has contact, you can apply to court for:
- Conditions on contact (or parenting time): the court sets out the things the person with contact has to do if they want to have contact with the child. For example:
- they mustn't use drugs or alcohol while they're with the child,
- they mustn't use drugs or alcohol for 24 hours before contact with the child,
- they mustn't take the child out of their home community, or
- they can't have the child stay overnight.
- Supervised time: the person with contact has to have someone with them when they visit the child. Before you go to court to apply for this, find out if a friend or family member would supervise visits. You can also use a professional supervisor, if you prefer.
- Specific times: the person with contact can spend time with the child only at certain times.
- Specific place: the person with contact has to stay in a certain area when they're with the child.
Sometimes the judge won't let a non-guardian parent or other person applying for contact spend any time with the child. If this happens to you and you think it's unfair, get some legal advice.