Parenting Basics

A parent may be a:

  • Biological parent
  • Adoptive parent
  • Person who has a parent-like relationship with a child and has decision-making responsibility for the child under a parenting order
  • Legal guardian

Parents generally have parenting time and decision-making responsibility. 

Parenting time means the time a child spends in the care of a parent.  

Decision-making responsibility means the responsibility for making significant decisions about a child’s well-being. This includes decisions about:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Culture, language, religion and spirituality
  • Significant extracurricular activities

Before 2020, parenting time and decision-making responsibility were called “custody and access.” The terms “custody” and “access” aren’t used anymore.

As a parent, you must prioritize the best interests of your child

Children are dependent on their parents. This is why the law protects the best interests of children. 

Going through a separation or divorce can be challenging, however, parents must still look after the best interests of their child(ren). There are free support services available to help you. 

You must financially support your child

Parents must support their dependent children financially. Child support is the money you contribute to a dependent child’s financial well-being. 

A child is considered dependent if:

  • They are under the age of majority (age 18) and still in a parent’s care.
  • They are over the age of majority (age 18) but can’t live independently because they are in post-secondary school, living with an illness or disability, or for another reason. 

You can learn more about parenting and the law

Community Legal Information (CLI) is a charity that provides legal information to residents of PEI. You can learn more about parenting and the law from their free family law publications. 

  • Parenting and the Law by Community Legal Information. Available in English and French. 
  • Family Law on PEI by Community Legal Information. Available in English, French, Arabic, and Chinese.