What if we can’t agree on what happens with our child?

As of March 1, 2021, the term has changed to . And in most situations, the term has changed to . Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn't a parent or step-parent may get a to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

You and your partner might not be able to agree on issues like who makes decisions for your children and who can spend time with them.  In family law you must think about using (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process to resolve your issues out of court if it's suitable for you. ADR might not be right for you if:

  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

Out-of-court options

A family law professional may be able to help you resolve your issues out of court. They are people who are trained to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you by using an ADR process.

Each family court location in Ontario offers subsidized mediation services. You can get up to 8 hours of  for a fee that is based on each person's income. You can use this service whether or not you have a court case. And if you have a court case, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free at the court.

If ADR doesn't work, or if it isn't suitable for your situation, then you can go to court and ask a judge to decide.

Go to court

If you and your partner still cannot agree even with the help of an alternative dispute resolution process or a family dispute resolution process, or if it's not suitable for you, one of you will have to start a family law court case.

A family court makes decisions using the family law rules and laws. Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it is sometimes necessary to decide your issues.

Try more than one option

If you decide to try one ADR option, you may not have to continue with it if it isn't helping you. And sometimes you can use more than one option or switch from one to the other.

For example, if you try to negotiate on your own with your partner, you might later decide to get help from a mediator.

Even if you started a court case, you may be able to stop and try mediation if your partner agrees.

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