Bracken Feeley O'Brien
Family & Immigration Lawyers
In the eyes of the court, each child deserves a relationship with both parents and any demand to alter that vision must have strong supporting arguments.
However, a custody battle is never a good experience for anyone involved, least of all the children. It’s something which should be avoided unless there are extenuating circumstances.
At Bracken Feeley O'Brien, We STRIVE to achieve what is in the best interest of the children.
Here’s what you need to know:
Sole Custody means one parent has all the responsibility for the child or children and that they live with that parent. The other parent usually has <access.>
Joint Custody, is the default position of most family courts. It means both parents share responsibilities and decisions. However it does not mean the children live with both parents, going back and forth. One parent will likely be appointed the residential parent and the child or children will live with them and the other will have access.
Shared Custody is an arrangement whereby the child lives with both parents, either for a week at a time with one and week with the other. This is practical if both parents live relatively close to each other and if getting to and from school isn’t an issue. In some cases the children may go back and forth between each parent’s home during the week or go to school with one parent and spend weekends and holidays with the other depending on what’s best and practical for all parties involved, including, of course, the children. This is sometimes called “joint and shared custody.”
Split Custody involves more than one child with one parent taking responsibility for one and the other parent taking responsibility for the other child or children.
Each parent is responsible for the child or children in their care, and the other parent has <access> to the child or children.
Access is the term to describe where, how and when a non-custodial parent will spend time with their child or children.
The courts expect each parent to not only live up to their financial responsibilities post divorce but to also ensure that the time spent with the children during access is pleasant and uninterrupted. The courts will not tolerate one parent playing “gatekeeper” and preventing the other from spending time with their child.
Non-custodial parents have the right to time with their children and to be kept informed about issues involving, health, education, religion and general well-being.
Also, access is not a condition of <child support>. If one parent is late or misses a support payment the custodial parent cannot and should not withhold access as a form of punishment.
Child support is a separate legal requirement and arrears must be dealt with through a different process.
On the other hand, the non-custodial parent cannot stop paying child support because their child doesn’t want to spend a weekend with them.
Access can be liberally defined by the parties themselves if they are on good terms or it can be spelled out in a court order if they are constantly fighting.
The court order will set out where, when and how long the non-custodial parent may spend time with their children.
If there is physical violence or emotional abuse, the court may change a custody, prevent access completely or order supervised access, which limited the time the child may be with the parent to a public place under supervision by a third party.
If you’re considering separation and need to understand your legal options and what might lie ahead, call us.
We will map out a strategy for your needs and help you avoid the common mistakes people often make.
(905) 666-5326 Whitby, Durham Region
Serving Pickering Ajax Uxbridge Oshawa & Toronto Area