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Who will make decisions about the children after divorce or separation?

You do not lose the right to make decisions about your children, including decisions about where they will live and what will happen on a day-to-day basis in their lives, simply because you no longer live with the other parent. A parent who lived with their child is that child’s guardian, whether or not they continue to live with the child.

Absent an order or agreement stating otherwise, each of a child’s guardians may exercise all parental responsibilities in consultation with the child’s other guardians, unless consultation would be unreasonable or inappropriate in the circumstances. What consultation means is not defined by law, and if you and the other parent are having difficulty agreeing on matters respecting the children, it is a good idea to seek legal advice.

Parental responsibilities are set out in the British Columbia Family Law Act, and include all responsibilities reasonably necessary to nurture the child’s development. For example, each guardian has the right to make decisions affecting the child and to have day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child. Each guardian also has the right to make decisions respecting where the child will reside, with whom they will live and associate, and regarding their education and participation in extracurricular activities. Guardians also have the right to obtain information directly from their children’s schools and doctors.

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