Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Joyce Model of Joint Guardianship Definition:

A British Columbia model of joint guardianship in respect to children as between separated parents.

Related Terms: Joint Custody

A model of joint guardianship or governance of children in the event of separated parents, created by Brian Joyce, then a magistrate ("Master") of the Supreme Court of British Colombia (since 2001, he is a full justice of the Court).

The model was quickly and universally embraced by the family law bar and bench and has become the most favored model of guardianship used by Supreme Court  of British Colombia and the lower jurisdiction Provincial Court of British Colombia.

Justice Joyce used the model as early as 1997 in Mills v Mills, 1997 BCJ 1117.

Joyce text box Combined with a variety of custody provisions, such as sole custody or joint custody, the model provides the parents with a dynamic process for both consultation and dispute resolution in regards to their children.

Up to the publication of the Joyce model, parents, lawyers and the courts struggled with a workable, ground-level custody and guardianship governance model.

Here is the model in skeleton form, with adjustments to be made on points of detail.

Parent #1 and Parent #2 shall have joint guardianship of the child[ren]. Joint guardianship means:
(a)  The parents are to be joint guardians of the estate[s] of the child[ren];

(b)  in the event of the death of either parent, the remaining parent will be the sole guardian of the person[s] of the child[ren];

(c)  Parent #1, who has the primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child[ren], will have the obligation to advise Parent #2 of any matters of a significant nature affecting the child[ren];

(d)  Parent #1 will have the obligation to discuss with Parent #2 any significant decisions which have to be made with respect to the child[ren], including significant decisions concerning the health (except emergency decisions), education, religious instruction, and general welfare of the child[ren], and Parent #2 will have the obligation to discuss these issues with Parent #1, and each parent will have the obligation to try to reach agreement with respect to those major decisions;

(e)  in the event that the parents cannot reach agreement with respect to any major decision despite their best efforts, Parent #1 will have the right to make such decision, and Parent #2 will have the right, under section 32 of the Family Relations Act, to seek a review of any decision which that parent considers contrary to the best interests of the child[ren];

(f)  each parent will have the right to obtain information concerning the child[ren] directly from third parties, including teachers, counsellors, medical professionals, and third-party caregivers.


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