For more comprehensive family law information go to:

nsfamilylaw

Nova Scotia's family law changed on May 26, 2017.  The new law is called the Parenting and Support Act. The Parenting and Support Act applies to couples who are not married, couples who never lived together, and married couples who are separating but who are not seeking a divorce. It also applies to grandparents and other people connected to the child.

Access is a child's right to spend time with each parent or guardian. The Parenting and Support Act does not use the word access to talk about the child's right to spend time with each parent or guardian. The Parenting and Support Act uses new terms to replace "access":

  • parenting time:  the time a parent or guardian spends with a child, under an agreement or a court order

  • contact time: the time someone who is not the child's parent or guardian spends with a child, under an agreement or a court order

  • interaction: direct or indirect association with a child.  Interactions cover things outside of parenting or contact time, like
    • keeping in touch with a child by email, text, phone, letter, online, etc.
    • going to a child's school events, or outside school activities
    • giving or getting gifts from the child
    • getting information about a child's health, school and overall well-being, including photos

The federal Divorce Act, which applies to people who are divorced or divorcing, still uses the word access to talk about spending time with a child.

Both the federal Divorce Act and provincial Parenting and Support Act use the word custody to talk about where the child lives, responsibility for the child's care, and rights and responsibilities to make decisions about the child's care and upbringing.

Last reviewed May 2017