Custody and Access
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.
The Divorce Process
Divorce is not the end of your relationship if you have children, it is a new beginning which will redefine both parents’ lives.
Ultimately, however, one thing doesn’t change after divorce and that is you’ll always be the parent of the children.
The Process of Divorce is a series of steps over a period of time and is always best when the parties can agree on the basics without having to invoke the court. In the long run it’s cheaper and faster and leaves fewer emotional scars.
There’s no real easy way to divorce if children, property and assets are involved, but there is a simpler, more gentle path to daylight if you so choose.
If you’re thinking about divorce or about to go through a divorce, it’s journey best taken with good legal advice. That’s where we come in.
Here’s what you need to know about the Divorce Process:
The day you and your spouse separate, move to separate quarters and stop intimate relations is an important date to mark down.
When separation occurs it is advisable to have sought legal advice before that date or, if the separation is sudden, to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible.
Separation triggers the process of divorce but it doesn’t have to end in divorce. Reconciliation is always possible at any step on the road. If you haven’t considered or undergone counseling, this would be a good time to think about it.
The first phase of the process is to create a separation agreement. This can be complicated and often a simple holding agreement is put in place while the main separation agreement is negotiated.
This is called an Interim Separation Agreement. It will spell out who stays in the matrimonial home or allows for one spouse to move to a part of the home separate from the other, where the children reside and with whom, what child support will be paid and when, spousal support, if needed and will also freeze any family assets such as bank accounts, retirement savings plans, property such as cars, homes, cottages until the details can be worked out in a full Separation Agreement.