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When my child is in his weekend visitation do I have the right to know where he is staying?

Probably not, but the issue is complicated.

First of all, our answer presumes that access is not supervised, and that the other parent is not subject to court-ordered terms that require him or her to specifically advise you about the child’s whereabouts, in which case the other parent must of course comply.

Barring that, there is a broader question of what information the access parent must share or disclose about the child’s visitation time with him or her.  The answer is subject to many considerations – all of them shaped and governed by what is in your child’s best interests.   Ideally, as parents you should both share information freely about all matters that foster the child’s wellbeing, whenever possible.

However, even beyond the child’s whereabouts, Canadian family law does not require either parent’s life to be an “open book” in terms of what he or she is doing with the child. This extends to information about the child during visitation times with the access parent.

Whenever there is unjustified secrecy by either parent, or allegations that well-meaning inquiries are considered intrusive, then the issue circles back to whether there is a court order mandating disclosure, and if not, whether the need for information is somehow defensibly connected to your child’s best interests. We have a comprehensive article on the Shulman & Partners LLP website that comprehensively covers this, and related questions, see: https://shulman.ca/parenting/do-i-have-a-right-to-know-where-my-child-is/

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