With the implementation of the Children’s Act, the term ‘access’ has been replaced with the term ‘contact’, which is defined as:
- maintaining a personal relationship with the child; and
- if the child lives with someone else:
- communicating on a regular basis with the child in person;
- visiting the child; or
- being visited by the child; or
· communicating on a regular basis with the child in any other manner.
It is a child’s right to have contact with both of his/her parents. In considering the amount and form of contact a parent should have with the child, the factors contained in the Children’s Act are taken into consideration.
Each situation is unique, and the outcome will depend on the facts presented, the child’s development, the parent’s relationship with the child and the child’s wishes, when applicable.
The following are common forms of contact:
- reasonable contact – This is the most common form of contact. Reasonable contact does not mean unlimited contact; it means what is reasonable taking into account the child’s age, wishes and circumstances.
- defined contact – Defined contact means that there are specific directions as to when, where and how a parent may exercise contact with the child.
- supervised contact – Supervised contact means that a parent can only have contact with the child in the presence of either the other parent or a third party.
- indirect contact – Indirect contact is usually combined with other forms of contact and especially important when a parent lives far away which makes frequent direct reasonable or defined contact difficult or impossible.
- phased-in contact – Phased-in contact is often used when a parent has been absent from a child’s life, and needs to be reintroduced to the child gradually, to minimise any negative effects and feelings of discomfort.
For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.
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Author – Jessica Gooding