Good advice: Approach a co-parent as you would a co-worker



It’s helpful if you can take emotions out of the process (as much as possible)

The other day I came across this piece on, and it’s stuck with me. The core of the piece is that when it comes to custody and co-parenting arrangements between former spouses, the more you can behave as though your ex is a co-worker with whom you need to accomplish specific tasks rather than someone with whom you have a complicated, non-professional past, the better the parenting thing will go.

Not a particularly complex idea – in theory. I recognize it’s much harder in practice. But if you’re in the process of a separation or divorce in which there are young children involved, this may be a helpful article.

Most people know the difference between a personal versus a professional relationship. A personal relationship is usually a friendship that includes voluntary sharing of time, knowing intimate details about one another, and is a more relaxed partnership wherein the parties can be their true, uninhibited self. A professional relationship tends to be more reserved. Information is more guarded, people tend to be on their best behavior, and the relationship is usually confined to specific times and places.


Read the rest of the piece here.


FROM ADVOCATE DAILY: Changes to Children’s Law Reform Act may encourage grandparents to litigate


Grandparents looking for access may be emboldened, but there are no new rights

In this month’s Advocate Daily, our own Timothy Sullivan offers his insights into revisions to Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act:

Amendments to the Act now specifically cite the rights of grandparents to apply to a court for custody and access — a right they always had, says Sullivan, principal of SullivanLaw.

“I don’t think the revisions are very significant,” Sullivan tells “I’m not sure they change anything. There is no new right, and no new procedure authorized that wasn’t there before. It may actually embolden grandparents to take up the charge of litigation based on this new citation.”

The bill recently received royal assent after being reintroduced by NDP MPP Michael Mantha, the Toronto Star reports. According to the article, Mantha brought the bill forward following a discussion within his own family.

“Advocacy groups estimate about 75,000 grandparents in Ontario have been estranged from their grandchildren and have been pushing for improvements to the laws for more than a decade,” the article says.

Although the law brings Ontario in line with other provinces, Sullivan says he questions the move.

“Grandparents always had a right to challenge any kind of custody arrangement, and they still have to meet the same requirements as any other person pursuing such a right. It must be in the best interest of the children,” he says.

“I think it’s unfortunate if it does embolden more litigation because this is an area of law that is crying out for less expensive and less adversarial conduct.”

Sullivan says some grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren after the breakdown of relationships between parents or because of a death.

“Grandparents may be left out of the grandchild’s life and it is unfortunate, but family dynamics are complicated and to institute a legal procedure to adjudicate those loving, kind and playful relationships between a grandparent and grandchild defeats the purpose,” he says.

To read the full article, and others by Timothy Sullivan, check out Advocate Daily.


FROM ADVOCATE DAILY: Grandparent access


Ultimately, parents make the decisions

From this week’s article on Advocate Daily, by our own Timothy Sullivan:

A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision underscores how grandparents have no right to see a grandchild, says Ottawa family lawyer and civil litigator Timothy Sullivan.

“They would need the factual basis to show the child is better off with the grandparent being in their life,” says Sullivan, of SullivanLaw. “It has to be a little bit more than ‘It’s my turn for playtime.’”

In Nichols v. Herdman, 2015 Carswell Ont 9262 (Ont. S.C.J.), grandparents sought access to their two-year-old grandchild. They previously had a close relationship with the child and helped care for the child regularly. However, a conflict escalated between the mother of the child and the grandparents, which resulted in the mother cutting off all ties between the parties.

The judge found that although the grandparents had a positive relationship with the grandchild, and while the decisions of the parents had jeopardized the relationship between the grandparents and the grandchild, the parents did not act arbitrarily.

To read more, check out the whole story on AdvocateDaily.