Family Mediation Canada Consultation on Custody, Access and Child Support


Table B-1: Respondents' Suggestions for What Should Replace the "Best Interests of the Child" Test

Options n
Best interests of child could be better served by focussing on best interests of family 5
There should be criteria established as to what is the best interests of the child 3
Only the rule of law and the best interests of the child 1
Best interests of the child from the perspective of the child 1

Table B-2: Respondents' Suggestions for What Other Criteria Should be Considered in Best Interests of the Child

Options n
Attachment behaviour between child and family 3
Willingness/ability of each parent to place parent role and responsibilities prior to other adult priorities and activities 2
Age of child (the older the child, the more important their view) 2
Support from external family 1
Work schedule of parent 1
Cultural family values with respect to raising children 1
Geographical distance between the parents 1
Parenting ability, capability and availability 1
Parenting arrangements must match child's developmental and emotional needs 1
That parents have some early educational opportunity regarding how conflict will harm their children and how children react to divorce/separation 1
Suspension on no fault analysis in cases of domestic violence including verbal and psychological violence 1
Future plans and opportunities for child 1
Presumption in favour of joint custody and joint parenting as framework for all custody orders 1
It is all important--need to look at each situation as unique 1
Ability of parents to adjust to the child's needs as the child grows 1
Developmental stage of child 1
Status of parents' significant other 1
Any special needs of the child 1
Degree of variation from status quo 1
Advantages of keeping the child in jurisdiction where he/she normally resides 1
Any findings or recommendations of a child advocate or credible third party 1
Age appropriate education 1
Child's ability to cope with change, i.e., temperament 1
Which parent is most ready to give in to the other parent rather than tear the child apart 1
Attitude towards financial responsibilities for the child 1

Table B-3: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Legislative Reforms or Service Improvements Would be Helpful to Enable Children to Voice Their Views

Options n
Neutral/impartial trained mental health professional with expertise in interviewing children 9
Mandatory parent education 4
Family group mediation 2
Financial subsidies for families who need these supports 2
Being very careful to not drag the children into the conflict 2
Opportunity for child's voice to be put forward without any form of intimidation 1
Counselling 1
Impact statements by children (not testimony where child could be cross-examined) 1
Timeliness--framework is available but process is often very drawn out and stressful 1
Legal rights to maintain contact with grandparents 1
Safe haven for children who claim they are abused from other jurisdictions 1
Child inclusion in mediation, as a function of age and issues 1
Important that child's voice be heard in context of family dynamics/conflict between parents 1
Clause giving some expression to "...the reasonable preference of the child if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express an informed preference" 1
Teachers are hamstrung from talking about children except to an assessor or children's lawyer--often they see a lot 1
Non-legal representation for child older than 10, assessment report for children younger than 10 1
Advertising to explain the rationale and importance of informing and listening to children 1

Table B-4: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Factors that Should be Considered When Deciding What Weight to Give to the Child's Views

Options n
Attachment/quality of relationship with each parent 4
Child's maturity 4
Ability/training of those interpreting the child's views 4
Indictors of spousal or substance abuse in the family 3
Child's personality/willingness to please/pacify both parents 2
Context of parental relationships/level of conflict 2
Length of no access 1
Any other individual factors that arise 1
Whether child is an only child or has siblings 1
Report by expert to analyze and comment on child's views in domestic violence cases 1
Parents' ability 1
Level of safety for the child when their views are offered 1
Issue in question 1
Number of interviews 1
Fear of the legal system 1
Child must never be responsible for the decision 1
Child's desire to communicate 1

Table B-5: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Legislation that Should be Considered to Recognize Family Violence as a Factor in Decision Making About Children After Separation and Divorce

Options n
On a case-by-case basis. There are different types of domestic violence and they need to be identified or considered rather that using a "catch-all" phrase 4
Extent to which child has witnessed or been involved with the abuse 2
There should be no legislation recognizing family violence. Present provisions are adequate 1
Legislation should provide that supervised access be provided and paid for where necessary 1
Legislation should have options available re. assessment, therapy, parenting education 1
Current zero tolerance as exercised by the police in reported cases should continue 1
Mediation cannot be requested by perpetrator but can be requested by victim 1
Mandatory parenting education when evidence of abuse or violence 1
Opportunity for funded counselling for the family to break the pattern of violence 1
Recognize that women can be abusers as well 1
Mandatory risk assessments in all cases of domestic violence 1
Legislation should provide that a qualified assessor/other professional make a determination when there are questionable allegations 1
Further assessment of children's relationship with each parent 1
Legislation should create an offence for professional services not working in cooperation with one another for the purposes of limiting excess interference with the family 1
Legislation that also recognized the children can be used by the abusive parent to undermine parenting and continue cycle of control 1
Supervised access and clinical treatment plan 1
Legislation should provide clear criteria to be considered for supervised access 1
Restraining orders 1
Legislation cannot be the tool for ensuring good parenting arrangements. We need well-trained and competent mediators to ensure well-crafted customized arrangements 1
Legislation should include mandatory mediation only when specific screening is included 1
Need full system behind the legislation to provide support for all members of the family 1
Legislation should not preclude mandatory mediation but maybe shuttle mediation, facilitation or limited mediation 1
Assessment of the violence and appropriate mediation intervention protocol is essential 1
Provide for conciliation by a family mediator, in cases of violence, without the parents being with the mediator together, but one after the other 1
Provide for the right to withdraw from mediation 1
Support for the creation of non-profit housing units for supervised visits 1
Parental estrangement situation 1
Often in the separation of the parties, the risk of domestic violence is diminished to nothing in certain cases--violence is not automatically continued 1

Table B-6: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Reforms or Service Improvements That Would be Useful When Dealing with Family Violence

Options n
Better access to low-cost/no-cost counselling services for victims, children and abusers 4
Mandatory parenting education for separating parents 4
Accessible and professional mediation should be available and offered to all families considering separation prior to legal interventions 3
More education for parents on the effects of separation and divorce on children 3
More education for lawyers and judges on family violence 3
More training for all in listening to the voices of children and youth 2
More education in schools for children to recognize abusive behaviour 2
Discussion group for children 2
Parent coordinator/family court counsellor with specific role to work with parents in conflict regarding parenting plans, communication, crisis intervention 1
Better access to counselling for offenders 1
Guardian ad litem function in law 1
Service improvements/reforms should be offered across disciplines and in a holistic fashion 1
Mandatory certification process 1
More money from legal aid for child custody reports 1
Assessment of parents' needs for assessment or counselling 1
More education for front-line services on the effective use of mediation 1
Harsher penalties for abuse that is witnessed by children or involves children as victims 1
Individual counselling for parents prior to making decisions re. separation (preferably with same counsellor) 1
Parenting group services should be suggested or ordered in certain cases 1
Monitor the family to ensure compliance with the agreements made after the case is completed 1
Assistance to the parents before the breakdown 1
One sessions (1-2 hours) of mediation mandatory for all cases 1

Table B-7: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Factors That Should be Included in a Legislative Definition of High Conflict Spousal Relationships

Options n
Substance abuse 3
Violence/history of violence 3
Return to courts for disputes 2
Emotional abuse 2
Financial controls 2
Harassment 2
Denial of access/access sabotage 2
Extent to which parents involve children in their disagreements 2
Poor parenting 1
High conflict spousal relationship that arises as a result of one of the parties deciding to end the marriage 1
Law should be flexible enough to provide for input of professional assessment information 1
Persistent and repeated refusal to seek and/or accept help 1
Voice of the child 1
Effect of conflict on children 1
Inability of one parent to be flexible or to respect orders of the court 1
History of frequent mental health counselling requests 1
Vandalism 1
Religious affiliation (cults) 1
All other serious causes that create extreme conflict in the spouses' relationship 1

Table B-8: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Types of Legislative Provisions or Other Procedures That Would be Useful in Managing High Conflict Situations

Options n
Parent coordinators/child advocate/other representative to assist high conflict families 7
Mandatory parenting education on impact of conflict on children 3
Much more involvement of mental health professionals--not lawyers 2
Mandatory counselling for abusers 2
Quicker access to courts or to motions/panels of experts at court to quickly hear matters 2
Enforcement section (similar to maintenance) that would ensure that conflicting parents could not use the children as a weapon to heighten conflict 1
Prohibition using legal system 1
Zero tolerance by police should continue 1
Mediation cannot be requested by perpetrator, but can be requested by victim 1
Education for lawyers and judges on family violence 1
Mandated referral to a grand master/manager who has backing of court and power to enforce 1
Model exists in U.S.: collaborative appointment with therapist/assessor in combination with mediation and legal representative 1
Place conditions (therapeutic and automatic reviews) on division of responsibilities 1

Table B-9: Respondents' Suggestions for How Subsection 9(1)(b) Could be Strengthened

Options n
Parties should be required to attend first session to be advised of process and explore possibilities for involvement 26
Mediation should be mandatory before case goes to court (unless domestic violence case) 16
Pamphlet/information booklet specifying particular services available/local roster 15
Clients to sign acknowledgement that mediation services have been discussed and that they fully understand how/if mediation could be helpful to them 14
Mandatory parenting education 9
Mandatory provision compelling lawyers to advise parties of government or privately available mediation and/or counselling services prior to initiating formal legal proceedings 7
Education of lawyers as to its benefits 5
Free or subsidized mediation should be available in all disputes 3
Lawyers must be educated on the developmental needs of children 3
Sanctions for not following/fine 2
Require lawyer to show the client a video about mediation 2
Make it responsibility of lawyer to ensure all disputes possible are mediated, enforced by a review or governing board 1
Government should publicize non-adversarial dispute resolution to the public 1
Prevent counsel from giving advice as to whether clients should use mediation 1
Fund court projects 1
Require judge (or clerk) at start of conflict to explore mediation option 1
Each court-defined community should have well-promoted and accessible family mediation centres staffed by professionally qualified mediators 1
Predetermined level of training and code of practice for mediation 1
Presumption of consensual decision making unless court orders otherwise 1
Parents should be required to go through automatic process of education, mediation, counselling, agreement, assessment 1
Should mention ADR as well 1
Duty to explore reconciliation 1
Lawyers must question clients 1
Lawyers must advise appropriately regardless of client's financial status 1
Lawyers must be tested on their interpretation of mediation 1
Lawyers should be including the best interests of the child in their representation of clients 1
Canadian bar and bench should be involved in imposing this duty on lawyers 1
Obligation to read information on how the court process is likely to affect parental relationship and how those effects are likely to impact children 1
Require a matrimonial consultation before court proceedings are initiated 1
Must be assurance that exemption for serious reasons is not automatic 1

Table B-10: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Mechanisms or Services That Would Help Parents Resolve Disputes About Their Children

Options n
Parenting assessments 3
Mandatory involvement of parenting coordinator/court counsellor in high conflict cases 3
More services for non-English speaking families 2
Timely court decisions and assessment processes 2
Teaching of good parenting practices in school/early childhood initiatives for prevention of family violence 2
Children's lawyer 1
Most services should be mandatory except for families with history of abuse 1
Legal aid to assist in making good decisions 1
Mandatory parenting education in high conflict situations or abuse matters 1
Parent/adolescent family therapy 1
Increased addictions services 1
Dispute resolution services paid by government and accessible to all 1
Extended family/community involvement 1
Payor's assistance/education programs 1
Divorce counselling (which is different from marriage/family counselling) 1
Service to provide for monitored access transitions for children when parents are unable to meet without problems arising, by court order 1

Table B-11: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Ways that Parents Can be Better Informed of Mechanisms or Services to Help Them Resolve Disputes About Their Children

Options n
Information sessions on mediation to general public/before court 10
Materials in community centres/organizations 7
Materials in hospitals/doctors' offices 6
Mandatory parenting education 5
Materials in libraries 4
Videos available early on through the courts 4
Materials in schools 3
Materials in supermarkets/stores 3
Instructions from lawyer and court 3
Multilingual materials 2
Materials in churches 2
Information about parenting workshops offered through the Department of Justice Canada should be given to mental health and private counselling services 2
Public service announcements 1
Dissemination of information should not be left to lawyers 1
Social services 1
Acceptance and public support of mediation by Law Society of Upper Canada 1
Materials in daycares 1
Important for society to destigmatize a parent who does not have full custody 1
Unified Family Court System 1
Inclusion in all new applications at family court 1
Early judicial inquiry (informal) 1
Standardized information 1
Family law clinics 1
Education about dispute resolution in general, e.g., at school, court 1
Have all materials available on tape for those who cannot read 1
Printed materials distributed and read aloud and commented on at initial mediation session 1

Table B-12: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Legislative or Other Measures That are Required to Promote Children's Interaction with Both Parents

Options n
Parent coordinators/Special Masters/case management services to sort out what is best for children 5
Mandatory parenting education 3
Court-connected office to facilitate or troubleshoot access orders 3
Focussed social work assessments through Office of Children's Lawyer should be used to assess and facilitate resolution of access disputes 1
Service where parents could call and get information on particular questions concerning them 1
More open and organized constructive "societal debate" needs to be conducted in the media--public pressure is needed to change traditional adversarial and combative approach 1
Rebuttable presumption of joint legal custody (not necessarily shared residence) 1
Need to recognize enmeshment and role reversal prior to automatic shared parenting 1
Follow-up services 1
Tie child support directly to amount of access exercised, i.e., less support when more access 1
Access assistance programs with built-in counselling, support and supervision services 1
Special (therapeutic) groups that teach parents the skills to deal with each other 1
Requiring judges and lawyers to take a course regarding their obligations with respect to divorcing parties and children (non-adversarial means, child-focussed, facilitate the development of parenting plans) 1
Do not believe compelling a parent to look after his/her child is good for the child, but if a parent decides to do it and that is contrary to child's best interests, then measures should be taken to protect child 1

Table B-13: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Mechanisms or Services That Would Encourage Parents to Formalize Their Custody and Access Arrangements

Options n
Aids for parents to assist them to develop their own agreement (e.g. computer software program, self-help kit) 5
Multimedia efforts about advantages of good plans 2
Any means outside of court, e.g., non-profit organizations that offer education, mediation, counselling 2
Parent coordinator/court counsellor who can help parents follow plans and stay on track as well as help adjust to children's developmental and other needs 1
"Mediation aid" funding for couples to access mediation as they would legal aid 1
Mandatory education for parents on effects of conflict on children 1
Support services for unrepresented parties 1
Trained mediators or arbitrators at court house for urgent cases 1
Auto order clauses (as per Manitoba) 1
Required in filing 1
Intervention services for parents for non-social assistance families 1
More specific or emphatic statutory reference to the importance of considering this option 1
Community lectures freely available on issues 1

Table B-14: Respondents' Suggestions for Ways to Deal with Situations Involving Access Arrangements with Financial Cost

Options n
Should be based on individual circumstances/negotiated by parties when able or with mediator 7
Should be included in parenting plan, with legislative guidelines providing framework for fairness 2
Cost sharing based on case history--who moved and why? 2
Need to look at who created the distance; that person needs to take greater responsibility for costs 1
Issue of costs should be included as part or separation agreement/parenting agreement 1
Define times specifically--stay away from language such as "access as mutually agreed upon" or "reasonable access" 1
Eliminate the concept of access and replace with shared parenting 1
Cost of supervision should be paid by parent who has access, based on a scale prorated to income and subsidized 1

Table B-15: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Options in Cases in Which a Custodial Parent Wishes to Move to a Location That Would Affect Access

Options n
Depends on circumstances of each case, e.g., best interests, locales, age of child, relationship with parent 3
Views of the child 2
Current and past access arrangement should be a major factor 2
Mediation 2
Parenting plans must be amended/renegotiated before a move is allowed 2
Not a presumption but a favour or increased weight for custodial parent 1
Limited reasons: significant improvement of employment, remarriage, abusive conduct by access parent, failure to exercise access regularly and reliably, and suitable access arrangements to maintain the relationship and presumption versus move when child is less than 10 and access parent has been involved 1
Only if there is no agreement between the parents should reasons be required as to why the parent believes a move is necessary 1
If move is required, should only be made following full discussion leading to agreement by both parties--when required, with the help of a mediator. When no agreement, court should be required to decide in best interests of child 1
Should amend child support payments when money is an issue for access and custodial parent should carry the majority of the burden 1
Complicated because cases of spousal abuse often involve relocating for safety and fear reasons 1
Present cost/benefit review 1
Variation of any court order or agreement restricting such a move must be obtained in advance; otherwise treated as a sanctionable contempt, i.e., no unilateral moves that undermine agreements or court orders and thus the perception of administration of justice 1
90-day written notice of relocation 1
Eliminate the concept of custody and replace with shared parenting 1
All arrangements should be covered to ensure that parents have access to children 1
"Permission to move" motions--reasons for move more important at distance increases 1

Table B-16: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Legal Approaches or Program Supports That Could Address the Problem of Enforcing Access Orders

Options n
Counsellors in court/case managers/family court program 4
Access denial should be not viewed as offence--multiple possible causes must be identified through counselling/mediation 3
Something that parents can access quickly, cheaply, mandatorily, and without having to use either lawyer or judge time 1
Suspension of child support for period of denial, prorating monthly amount, by court order or agreement only 1
Intervention of mediation should be made available in all cases 1
Repeated denial of access should result in custody changes when non-custodial parent can pass a test as a "reasonable parent" 1
Parents should be fined when they wrongfully deny access 1
None--this should be dealt with outside the legal arena 1
Judges should continue to have jurisdiction over problem cases 1
Sufficient in Quebec 1

Table B-17: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Legislative or Other Measures That are Required to Promote Children's Interaction with Their Grandparents

Options n
Specifying "important others" to include grandparents and other relatives 2
Grandparents' involvement in perpetuating conflict between family members must be assessed 2
Must be determined to be in best interests of child and supportive of both parents 2
It is the responsibility of parents to encourage contact with grandparents 2
Need for governments to promote a public awareness campaign 1
When including grandparents in "parenting plans," this must include all parties, especially the children 1
Only when the grandparents' adult child is unavailable by death, incapacity or jail should access rights be granted to a grandparent 1
Need to predict impact of such contact on children in situations involving conflict 1
Through mediation 1

Table B-18: Respondents' Suggestions for How Legislation Can Provide Guidance in Determining Parents' Responsibility for Their Children on Separation and Divorce

Options n
Mandatory parenting education 13
Strong statement in legislation regarding responsibilities of parents and effect of conflict on children 6
There is only so much legislation can do 6
Mandatory mediation 5
Include statement of rights of child 5
Require parenting plan with important items clarified 3
Moratorium on application to court for divorce for period of three years to allow parents to emotionally adjust and encourage parents to allow for adjustment prior to making final decisions 3
Implementation of preventative measures, such as education in schools and pre-marriage counselling 3
By "promoting" non-adversarial approaches and parenting difficulties, i.e., parenting courses, mediation, counselling, and/or post separation/divorce education for parents 3
Mandatory counselling for parents and children in high conflict situations 2
Agency supervision for high conflict cases 2
Requires more money than legislation, i.e., funded counselling, parenting education, mediation services 2
Include "signing authority" as part of list of parenting responsibilities (i.e., passports, consent for medical treatment) 1
Replace "loaded" words with neutral terminology, e.g., change custody to residence 1
Court should accede to parenting proposal of primary caregiver unless there is a professional opinion that such proposals are contrary to child's best interests or court is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that parent is wrong 1
The small handbook Life Goes On (Health Canada) has proved to be very helpful and most welcomed--more of the same and wider availability would be helpful 1
Legislative language emphasizing shared parenting and parental responsibility focus 1
Encouraging dialogue between parents 1
Court should be careful about promoting shared parenting when in many cases children's best interests would be better served by having one primary caregiver 1
Let the pendulum swing more to the middle between the parents. The question is "what will best facilitate a good relationship between parents and child?" 1
Need flexibility in system to meet all ranges of parenting styles and situations 1
Statutory direction that in domestic violence cases abusers have limited or no parental responsibilities 1
Legislate failure to comply with orders and their consequences 1
It already does it 1
Some assessment of the extent of conflict or violence needs to be determined at the outset. The law needs to be able to help kids in high conflict situations 1
Best interests test should still be ultimate yardstick 1
Panels of arbitrators or custody evaluators at the courthouse to assist in making expedient decisions regarding risk to families if shared parenting were to be put in place 1
Once parties have been to court and received umbrella ruling, mandatory meeting with mediator to finetune arrangements. When mediation is not applicable, get detailed plan approved by court 1
Legislation through Income Tax Act to enforce financial responsibilities to children 1
Binding final arbitration regarding property issues and also interim custody/access/support binding mediation with right to appeal to court 1
It can delineate major aspects that need to be allocated to one or both parents, which clarifies the relationship that both parents will have with each other 1
Emphasize and detail the requirement for justice system professionals to carefully review prior existing parental "responsibility" patterns 1
Mechanism to monitor effects of breech of parenting plan on children 1
"Time spent" issue needs to be resolved. It appears legal system has made the problem worse. Please define the "on duty parent" as a term of reference 1
Update Federal Child Support Guidelines 1
Major difficulty is that one set of rules is better for children whose parents are cooperative and respectful, and quite a different set of rules is needed where parents are not, or when a parent is abusive of spouse and/or child, or is a substance abuser 1
By requiring that the judge be satisfied that the mother and father have in fact received the legal information in this regard 1
Children's court 1

Table B-19: Respondents' Opinions on Direct Child Support Payments to Children at the Age of Majority or Older

Options n
Each case should be assessed individually; arrangement with parents and children over the age of majority 3
Direct payment to children at the age of majority or older should be mandatory. If the child for health reasons cannot take care of his/her affairs, then the payments should be made to the caretaker 2
Presumption in favour of direct payment to child after high school completed and child continuing education when paying parent has honoured support arrangements in the past, plus some direct contribution to the other parent when child is still living most of the time with that parent 1
A parent paying child support should have the option of paying a child at the age of majority the portion of child support regardless of the opinion of the receiving parent and should not have to go before a judge to argue the fact 1
Child support should stop at the age of majority as it does when family intact 1
Direct payment to child at the age of majority or older on consent of both parents and child agrees 1
Parenting arrangements should determine child support, not the other way around 1

Table B-20: Respondents' Suggestions for How the Guidelines Should Calculate the Amount of Child Support the Step-parent Pays

Options n
Should be determined on a case-by-case basis/individual needs of the child 9
There should be no responsibility on the part of step-parents. Financial support of children is the responsibility of the biological parent 9
Start with presumption of no obligation, unless biological parent is not involved as a parent, in which case #1 2
Allocate payment based on higher of the two incomes proportionally based on each parent's income 2
Child support table amount for each and accounting for payments made by either parent or step-parent to any other children 1
Table amount and add-ons minus amount other parent ought to be paying 1
Prima facie table amount from each parent subject to discretion when result is unfair to payor who has other childcare obligations 1
Something in between the two above, e.g., each could pay 65 percent of the table amount 1
Whole matter of child support should be reconsidered as the current approach does not work 1
Delicate situation--compelling a substitute spouse to play the role of paying parent might scare some of them 1
Should be left to the complete discretion of the parent in loco parentis 1

Table B-21: Respondents' Suggestions for How to Define Shared Custody

Options n
Courts should look at costs experienced by both homes for the child and use discretion. Time should trigger but not determine the outcome 2
Parenting responsibility, temperament and needs of the children, level of conflict in the family as well as actual time spent 1
Need to consider child development issues, type of conflict that exists and the range of parental responsibility 1
When both parents accept and understand 40/60 conditions, and have it clearly expressed in a written agreement, definition should prevail 1
Complete discretion to judge--even over requirement for certain percentage of time 1
Parental responsibility should be the sole criteria 1
Caution because sometimes custody dispute develops to opt out of Guidelines and fight is really about money. Allow discretion to consider impact of children's budget and who is spending money 1
Shared custody should only be defined as shared responsibility and when money is concerned; it is essential that custody only exist if parents are providing financial support to the child in the ratio of their relative means 1
California model: child support is on a sliding scale according to time spent with child. It creates an incentive for access and is more acceptable to each party than an artificial 40 percent 1

Table B-22: Respondents' Suggestions on Factors That Should be Included in a Definition of Shared Custody

Options n
Who is responsible for various day-to-day occurrences, e.g., school calls, appointments? 3
Age and stage of development of the child as well as temperament of the child 2
Motivation and desire of the parents to have such arrangement 2
None of the above--scrap shared parenting, joint custody, sole custody--simply define parenting and responsibility 1
How parents tend to all the needs of the children 1
Involvement of each parent's extended family 1
California model: child support is on a sliding scale according to time spent with the child; creates incentive for access and is more acceptable to each party than an artificial 40 percent 1
As many relevant factors as are applicable 1
Parental values and communication skills need to be shared and evident for this to work 1
Shared custody should not be an excuse for eliminating child maintenance when the parents have widely different financial means and assets 1

Table B-23: Respondents' Suggestions for How the Time Element of Shared Custody Should be Defined

Options n
Time is not an important factor; should be developed within the realms of each particular family situation 18
Wide open based on who pays for what during time with kids 2
Child should spend at least 30 percent of time with each parent 2
Parents' consent and written agreement of 40/60 conditions should prevail 1
Count the overnights to determine the 40 percent 1
"Shared custody" is a statement about control and financial responsibility. "Parenting plan" is a statement about residency and schedules as well as all other responsibilities 1
Neither one 1
Children should have equal access to parents--it is parents' duty to accommodate this 1
Sliding scale according to time spent with child 1
Ideally 50/50 with each parent. However, percentage is not the important factor. A good workable "parenting plan" would be more effective with the best interests of the child 1
Should depend on emotional maturity of parents--when they can't agree, concern about impact of conflict on children 1
Parents jointly define: when they disagree and both want "custody" to some degree, examine the degree of time spent with children prior to separation; otherwise 50/50 1
Should be clarification as to how to calculate the time, e.g., nights, when child is in daycare or school, etc. 1

Table B-24: Respondents' Other Suggestions for the Term That Should be Used to Capture the Concept of Shared Custody in the Guidelines for the Strict Purposes of Determining Child Support

Options n
Shared parenting 11
What is the distinction between the previous four choices? 3
Shared responsibility 3
Equal care or equal residency 2
Shared financial responsibility 2
None of the above--eliminate time 1
Abolish shared custody--for calculating support it is shared time 1
Dual residence or dual residency--distinction not clear 1
Alternate residency 1
Shared decision making 1
Shared care and control 1
Shared expenses 1
Substantially shared parenting 1
Sharing of children 1
Two household family with arrangement for residential care 1
Shared-time custody 1

Table B-25: Respondents' Suggestions for Other Ways That Child Support Should be Determined in Shared Custody Arrangements

Options n
Should pay child support only when incomes are vastly different 2
It all depends on individual circumstances 2
Use split custody calculation to cover differences in incomes and recognize differences in standard of living (use all incomes in both households), then divide certain listed items proportionate to parents' incomes 1
When the residential "share" is equal and both are subjected to equal expense of both the basics and the extras, then any differential payment is eliminated. Mediation can/does encourage "extraneous" payments as and when identified by the need of either parent 1
Guidelines are needed with judges' discretion: must cover "self-employed" and include comparison of standard of living 1
Current Guidelines section with a little discretion 1
Parents could negotiate alternate arrangements, provide information to the court, and have the judge rule 1
Neither parent paying child support would be the "ideal" and would probably reinforce the child's best interests. Therefore, both parents give the child a 100 percent participation in child rearing 1
Pre-established tables to be used as a guide with increases in costs providing for a minimum 1
Total access to family allowance and tax benefits for children, 100 percent for each parent based on their respective incomes 1
This calculation already exists in the Quebec scale 1
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