Toronto Child Custody Lawyers

The term “Custody” of children in the context of a separation, involves the right of a parent to make decisions related to the welfare or best interest of their children. These rights relate to either parent’s’ right to make decisions about a child’s education, religious upbringing, medical decisions, and the extracurricular activity a child takes part in.

The term custody is not necessarily related to which parent a child lives with; that relates to the residence schedule of the child, but often children have a primary resident parent, with whom they spend more time with after separation. In some instances, where parties reside closer together, and the children are young enough, a 50/50 or equal parenting schedule or arrangement may be appropriate and agreed to, or court ordered.

Custody can be in the form of sole custody or sole parenting responsibility to one parent or parents can share custody of their children in a joint custody scenario. The Courts and the law will only look to what is in the child’s best interest in determining which type of custody is appropriate, and what type of parenting schedule or access schedule is appropriate in the circumstances.

Joint Custody

Parents who have joint custody of their children are to jointly make decisions related to the welfare of their children. One parent cannot make a decision without the other’s consent. Parties are required to have good communication in a joint custody scenario. Parents who find themselves in high conflict situations with their separated partners or spouses, cannot make decisions for the welfare of a child jointly and, as such, this often leads to either an agreement of sole custody to one party, or a Judge may make that decision.  

Sole Custody

Often, when parties cannot communicate appropriately with one another or get along, a joint custody scenario is not possible and the only possibility is to have one parent make decisions for the best interest of the child or children, because it would be impossible for both parties to make that decision. As an example, a child may require serious medical attention, and where parties are unable to get along, a child may suffer as a result of the parent’s’ inability to make decisions together.

Contact us to speak with one of our child custody Toronto lawyers today as custody and access or parenting time cases tend to be rather complex and there are a variety of ways to deal with such cases.

Access and Parenting Plans

After separation, parties with children need to decide where their children will live, and with which party. Depending on the welfare of the child or the best interests of the child, a number of scenarios could be either agreed to by parties who have an amicable relationship with one another, or ordered by Court. The Courts will only take into account what is best for your child in reaching such a decision.

When separated parents are able to work things out together and have basic communication to be able to make decisions regarding the welfare of their children together, a well thought out parenting plan can be drafted to set out the parenting schedule. Parenting plans range from informal agreements sometimes, verbally made between parties who get along, or they can be in the form of very detailed agreements, depending on the level of conflict.

Parenting plans can be generally in the form of children residing with parents equally, residing with one parent more throughout the week with some overnights to the other parent, or a factor may make overnight time to another parent less appropriate. Parenting time can also be in the form of supervised access or supervised parenting time, if there is reason to believe a child may be at risk of emotional or physical harm, in the care of one parent.

There are complex issues to consider and which lend themselves to choosing the right parenting plan, or the court ordering a specific parenting plan with the best interest of the child considered first and foremost, given the child’s age, how the parents shared the responsibilities of the children before separation, the history of the parents’ relationship with one another, and conduct of the parents during the marriage and after separation.

If you are separating or have separated, call our office to speak with one of our child custody lawyers in Toronto today.