SMP Law – Language and Law


Parenting arrangements have been historically referred to as custody and access. There has been much confusion about what custody and access means to parents and families and often these terms are used incorrectly. When speaking with clients, they do not understand the difference between the terms and they are incorrectly used interchangeably. To address some of the concerns regarding the words custody and access, these terms were recently updated.

On March 1, 2021, the laws regarding custody and access were changed under the new Divorce Act. The changes included a shift in language that now focuses on the responsibilities of parenting. The new language now refers to custody as decision-making and access as parenting time. What was formerly referred to as access schedule is now parenting time and what was formerly referred to as “accessing” is now referred to as “contacting”.

If you would like to read more about these changes, please visit the Government of Canada site for more information.


Contact us anytime at SMP Law to help SiMPlify your legal matter at 905-565-9494 or email if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to meet and discuss your situation and how we can help.


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