Parents today will notice that the terminology has changed under the Family Law Act. The Act gets rid of the terms custody and access and replaces them with guardianship, parenting time, contact and parental responsibilities.

Family Relations Act           Family Law Act

Custody/Guardianship   =   Guardian/Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Access                                =   Parenting Time or Contact

The change in terminology does not require parties to obtain a new court Order. For example, if you have a court order under the Family Relations Act that Parent 1 has sole custody and sole guardianship and Parent 2 has access only to the child, Parent 1 under the Family Law Act would be a guardian with parental responsibilities, and Parent 2 would be a contact parent only.

If parents are living together at the time of separation, each parent is automatically a “Guardian” under the Family Law Act. If however a parent never resided with the child, they are not considered to be a “Guardian” under the Family Law Act unless they:

(a) apply to the court to be named a guardian;

(b) the parent and all of the child’s guardians make an agreement providing that the parent is also a guardian;

(c) the parent regularly cares for the child.