Rights of infants under family law in Alberta

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute LLP posted in Family Law on Friday, February 23, 2018.

Infants and babies who can’t yet talk and who can’t advocate for themselves still have the right to legal representation if the need arises. Under family law in Alberta, legal counsel may be appointed for an infant with or without parental consent through the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate when protection matters come into play or when these kids’ parents are divorcing. All children need consistent, nurturing caregivers who put the needs of the children first.

Children need routine in their lives to experience a stress-free environment. Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable since they can’t tell their parents or caregivers how they’re feeling. For a very young child who can’t communicate and who needs his or her legal rights looked after, the court may appoint a lawyer as a friend of the court. A lawyer may provide a court with prudent, objective information that may help a judge decide what is best for the baby.

If there are issues that cause major disruptions and stress in a baby’s routine in a family law situation, the court may intervene, especially when an infant’s mental health is at stake. Children are very intuitive. When their parents are in stressful situations and the environment is filled with yelling, anger and negative energy, it could have an impact on an infant. 

An Alberta family law lawyer is familiar with child protection laws. A lawyer may be able to provide the name of a family counsellor if their children — including infants — are experiencing stress due to a separation or divorce. A compassionate lawyer may be able to offer useful advice before an infant’s well-being is affected by his or her parents’ marital situation. 

Source: lawnow.org, “Infants and Family Law: Advice for Parents“, Evelyn Wotherspoon and Sonja Lusignanuntil, Accessed on Feb. 18, 2018

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