ECMAS Position Statement

GOAL: Presumptive Continuation of Joint Custody

Our society lobbies for changes to the federal Divorce Act and Alberta family laws so that  joint custody would continue automatically after parents' separation or divorce unless one parent was proven to be unfit through due process of law. Our society believes that our children should have the full support of and parenting by both parents and the parent/child relationships that are healthy for the children and our community.

Jurisdictions in the U.S. that have presumptive joint custody family law legislation include Washington, D.C., California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

GOAL: Equal Parenting Time

ECMAS promotes shared and equal parenting of the children. Parenting time schedules with every other weekend do not provide enough time to continue and develop healthy parent/child relationships. Further, parenting time schedules should not be limited to weekends.

GOAL: Access Enforcement

Access enforcement means that there should be a system or method for the enforcement of court ordered access. ECMAS lobbies for training of police agencies in the enforcement of parenting time schedules as ordered by the courts or provided in separation agreements.

There have been five attempts to have access enforcement legislation passed in the Alberta Legislature since 1984. None have been successful. At present, police agencies take the position that they are unable to enforce parenting time schedules access orders unless the order contains an enforcement clause that directs the police agencies to enforce the order. In those cases they are then required to enforce the order or would themselves be in contempt of the order. The only means of enforcing the order is to arrest the party who is not complying with the order, which would be the parent. The children would then be able to be placed in the care of the parent seeking enforcement of the order.

GOAL: Fair and Equitable Child Maintenance

Child support should be based on the actual costs of both parents to provide the necessities of life for our children as determined by economic studies using reasonable criteria. Child support should consider the income and resources of both parents making both parents financially responsible for the children.

Child support must account for the costs in both homes in order to provide adequate accommodation and amenities in both homes.
There must be resources directed to promoting shared and equal access for the children to both parents including providing for adequate housing and amenities in both homes.

GOAL: No "child support" for Adult Offspring

Child support orders should not continue beyond the age of majority, which is 18 years of age in Alberta. Intact families are not required to support adults for education purposes but separated and divorced parents are required to provide child support to these adults.

Child support in Canada is now based on an income sharing formula, which does not reflect actual child care costs. It is not a reasonable restriction of the right to equality to be required to provide child support to adults that are not incapacitated and are able to represent themselves in legal matters.

Both parents from intact families and in families involved with parental divorce or separation evaluate the needs of their adult offspring and often provide financial support , when available and at their discretion, to further their offsprings' education or training to provide the offspring with increased future income.